Quinoa Mushroom Pilaf with Black Beans

I wouldn’t dare call it plov, and not because the base is quinoa instead of rice. During WWII, when Odessa was occupied by the Nazi and all men were fighting in the army, the women on my mother’s side of the family were evacuated to Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. The three of them, my mother who was eleven years old, my grandmother, and my great-grandmother, were housed in a women’s half of the little house owned by an Uzbeki. He used to come to my grandmother quite often with the same request:

“Raika-Khanum (Mrs. Rachel), give rice, a little rice, guests came, brought lamb, need rice, need make plov”

“How much do you need? A cup? Two?”

“Raika-Khanum, understand guests came? Brought lamb? Need make plov, need a kilo, two, maybe five…”

She couldn’t refuse the extortionist, of course, and the second part of the exchange followed:

“Here is rice for you. Should I come and help your women to make plov?”

“Shaitan (the devil)! Russian Shaitan! Women no make plov, women cook rice, men come tell women get out, men cook meat.”

I will remember that “Russian Shaitan! Women no make plov” for the rest of my life. Therefore, even though there is no meat in this mix of ingredients, and anyway, I have no problem making a real plov with meat, I would still call it Pilaf. All the more so because it’s a fusion – here is a trendy word for you! -of Asian and Cuban cuisine. This is South Florida, beautiful people!

Qunoa mushroom pilaf.jpg

Well, maybe it’s not exactly fusion, but a combination of quinoa, mushrooms, Beyond Beef meat substitute, and a Cuban staple – black beans, seasoned and spiced the way I would treat a real plov.  I have minced onion and garlic, grated carrots, lots of fresh cilantro, and white turmeric.

Quinoa mushroom pilaf 1.jpg

In a deep frying pan or dutch oven, you need to saute garlic and onion, while you cut mushrooms into large chunks. Throw mushrooms into the pan, stir, cover, and saute together for 10 – 15 minutes, until mushrooms soften and become darker in color. Remember to stir often – you don’t want mushrooms to burn.

Quinoa mushroom pilaf 2.jpg

Now you can add carrots and chopped cilantro stems. Reserve cilantro leaves for garnishing. I use a tiny grater to grate turmeric right into the pan, but you can prepare it beforehand. Mix it all together, cover, and saute for about 10 more minutes, until carrots become soft and blend with the rest of it.

Quinoa mushroom pilaf 3.jpg

Here is the fusion part: add precooked black beans. I like to use home-cooked or frozen, but you can use canned, if you prefer. In any case, they need to be thoroughly rinsed and drained. Also at this point add the beef substitute.

Quinoa mushroom pilaf 4.jpg

In addition to cilantro and turmeric that are already cooking with the veggies, I now season it with cinnamon and cumin, salt and pepper, of course, and a couple of tablespoons of sweet red wine. Someone brought Manishewitz into the house, and all I can do with it is use it for cooking. Mix everything together, cover and let it simmer for a few more minutes, just to blend flavors.

Quinoa mushroom pilaf 5.jpg

The veggies are ready to be mixed with precooked quinoa. Everyone has their own way of cooking quinoa, and I am no exception. I soak it for ten minutes in hot water, then steam for ten more minutes, and fluff it up. But you do whatever works for you! Remove veggies from fire, add them to quinoa, and mix very well.  Taste to adjust seasoning. If you are planning to serve it for dinner the same day, like I am doing, preheat your oven to 200, cover the pilaf dish, and bake it on middle rack for 15 – 20 minutes. However, you can refrigerate it for a day or two and bake it right before serving. This is a perfect Shabbos main course to prepare in advance and stick into the oven right before bentching licht.

Quinoa mushroom pilaf 6

It looks very appetizing, garnished with those reserved cilantro leaves.  It will taste great with a glass of Victor Chardonnay Lazio, light and dry, like a true Chardonnay, but somewhat subtle. My husband’s choice, and an excellent one!

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups cooked quinoa (2 cups uncooked)
  • 1 lb mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 cup precooked or frozen black beans, or 1 can
  • 1 cup Beyond Beef or any other meat substitute of your choice
  • 1/2 grated carrots
  • 3 – 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 medium size onion, minced
  • Large handful of fresh cilantro
  • Grated white turmeric, to taste
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Pinch of cumin
  • 2 tablespoons of sweet red wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste

PROCEDURE

  • Cook quinoa according to your preferred method. Put aside.
  • Cut mushrooms into large chunks.
  • In a deep frying pan or dutch oven, saute garlic and onion until soft, add mushrooms. Mix and saute covered for 10 – 15 minutes, until mushrooms soften and change color. Stir often.
  • Separate cilantro leaves from stems. Reserve leaves for garnishing. Chop stems roughly.
  • Add carrots and chopped cilantro stems to the pan. Grate turmeric into the pan. Alternatively, prepare grated turmeric. Mix, cover,  and simmer for 10 minutes, until carrots soften and blend. Stir often.
  • Add black beans and meat substitute, season with cinnamon, cumin, salt and pepper, add wine.  Mix well, cover, simmer for a few more minutes, remove.
  • Preheat oven to 200. Add vegetable mix to quinoa, mix thoroughly. Taste to adjust seasoning. Cover, bake on middle rack for 15 – 20 minutes.
  • Garnish with reserved cilantro leaves and serve.

Enjoy!

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34 Comments Add yours

  1. Damn this looks so good!! Does the wine make a difference? I never have wine at home…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! And thank you for visiting my blog. Wine does make a huge difference as it enhances flavors, concentrates them and makes them more distinct. Alcohol actually evaporates so you don’t taste it. Cooking wine is sold everywhere and pretty cheap, too, but I prefer to use regular “drinking” wines.

      Like

  2. Reblogged this on koolkosherkitchen and commented:

    Happy International Women Day, Beautiful People! On this day, I want to commemorate three great ladies of my family: my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother . To all of you, ladies – enjoy your day!

    Like

  3. So nice to remember your loved ones this way. A very happy Women’s day to you too, Dolly 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy Women’s Day to you, too!

      Like

    1. Thank you so much for reblogging!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hello, thank YOU for the always fantastic recipes.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. randyjw says:

    I can hear the contempt of that man, too. Thankfully that was just an interlude to the redemption and victory of your survival. No doubt, the same can’t necessarily be said for the man, although in the end, he did help to save Jews, so maybe that earned him some chit points in the whole scheme of things. I feel badly, though, that it trods on any part of your neshama. It makes you the strong, inimitable, and compassionate person you are today.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It trods on nothing! I remember it as a cute anecdote delivered in my mother’s hilarious imitation of an Uzbekian accent. Evacuated families were quartered with locals, and locals were paid, and paid well, for housing them, so that “kilo-two-five” of rice was pure extortion, but there was never any antisemitism in the Asian republics. After all, they lay along the Great Silk Way and used to be under the Bukharian Emirate, until Russia drowned them in their own blood. Jews were highly respected by the Emirate and actively participated in the silk and spices trade for centuries. I think you, as well as most of my readers, missed another point, though: the man had “women,” i.e. wives, in plural. Polygamy never stopped there, no matter what the government said.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. israelisalad says:

    My family doesn’t like quinoa or mushrooms, but I think this looks delicious. And your mother sounds like quite a special woman!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, and yes she was! Have an easy and meaningful fast and a fun Purim! Hag Purim Sameach!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful presentation! I’m a veggie lover so I might be biased. Manischewitz Concord grape is a favorite of my sweet tooth that and Cherry Kijafa 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, dear Mel! We don’t really drink sweet wines (although I love liquors), so I am always happy when guests bring something like Manischewitz that I use for cooking 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Joëlle says:

    Your family had to go through a lot. My catholic family was never displaced but my great-grandmother lived through two world wars on the farm where she raised her ten (yes, ten, that she had over a period of twenty years…) children. My husband and I sponsored children in poor countries at one point in our life, and he insisted that it should be girls so they would get an education. Women are too often, even today, not appreciated at their full value.
    Thank you for this recipe. I had never heard of “white turmeric” before. Do you buy it fresh? What is the difference with regular turmeric? Also, do you think it would taste ok without the wine, maybe with beer instead? No wine for us because of the sulfites ☹️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, dear Joelle! Every Jewish family in communist Russia went through the same trials and tribulations, and to be fair, many other people did, too.
      I buy most of my herbs and spices fresh, if at all possible. White turmeric has a stronger taste and will not color your food. I also use it in detox teas – it’s very good for digestion. Regarding wine and beer, Cubans cook everything with beer, so it should work, but I am just curious: I’ve seen sulfite-free wines here; do you not have them where you are?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Joëlle says:

        Actually, “sulfite-free” wines usually mean they have no added sulfites. But as sulfites occur naturally in the wine making-process, there are some. My husband tried and unfortunately reacted with asthma. Some sulfite-intolerant people can tolerate a small amount but apparently he can’t, at least not in the wine. So we have learned to do without. In any case, as cheese and French baguette are also a no-no, “what’s the point in having wine?”, he says!

        Like

      2. Oh, I haven’t realized that! I thought that “no” something means it’s none of it is present. I should know better! The only non-dairy products that do not have casein in them are the kosher ones marked “Pareve.” What I miss the most, of course, is cheese!

        Like

  8. lghiggins says:

    Interesting anecdote and indeed, I did miss the polygamy reference. I learn so much from your blog and from the comments that follow! I always have and hopefully always will enjoy learning something new every day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s what keeps us young – learning! Thank you for your kind words.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. This look very delicious Dolly, one more for trying 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, dear Irene, I am glad you like it!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. For sure interesting cvombination

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you; it’s pretty tasty too, if you like quinoa.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I am surprised at the use of the word ‘shaitan’. It is a regular word for the devil too in the Hindi language. The little feminist in me is rearing its head up at the Uzbeki’s words.

    Like

    1. I am aware of this word used in many language in that geographical area. Yes, there was and probably still is a clear distinction between male and female roles in society in Asian republics (they are independent countries now). Polygamy was still practiced there in the 1970’s, and probably still is, unofficially,of course. Teenage brides are sold for “kalym” – a substantial fee paid by the prospective groom to the girl’s father. Age-old traditions do not die overnight!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They do not. It is deeply entrenched in the psyche as you rightly point out. It is disturbing to read about these customs but then they also emphasise the fact that women have come so far in the last century and pushed the envelope for a fortunate few like us.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Very true! My great-grandmother was from Vienna, Austria. When she finished the gymnasium, she wanted to enter Vienna University to study (they called it “to read”) philosophy. When Dr Freud, who sometimes visited their house, heard about it, he remarked, “What does a young lady want to do with philosophy? Read romantic literature or something of that nature, if you must.” She did, and I ended up on the receiving end of it, many years later because she seriously believed that German romantic literature should be enjoyed in the original, not in translation. It gave me an advantage of yet another language, but fortunately, we have no such limitations now when choosing a major!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. She met Freud! Oh Dolly, what stories 🙂 You should write a book. I am in another world and age when you start telling them. Mansplaining from Freud. I think I shall have some hefty dreams tonight 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Well, she came from a wealthy family, and they had “Thursdays” when people of arts and culture, as well as doctors, university professors, etc. stopped by to hang out and socialize. It is a different age, dear, the end of 19th century. Thank you for your kind comments! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I can so shut my eyes and imagine the scene playing out before them. That would be quite a part of the Viennese wealthy lifestyle. This adds to them so well. A book you might seriously contemplate if you have more x

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Omg…..this looks absolutely delicious. I have made something similar using purple hull peas! I will definitely be trying this version. …..yummy!

    Like

    1. Thank you so much, dear, I am so glad you like it! Now I have to go find purple hull peas! Let me know how it comes out, please.

      Liked by 1 person

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