Okay, I am going to admit something here. Until this past year, I thought Quinoa was pronounced “Kwin-o-uh.” I had only seen it in print and never heard anyone actually speak of it until a few months ago. A friend of mine starting talking about something called “keen-wah” and I was like, “What is that?” Duh.
Confession number two. I had a box of quinoa sit in my pantry for over a year before I got up the courage to cook it. I don’t know why it seemed so scary. Maybe because it’s supposed to be “healthier” for you… I thought it might have some kind of funky texture like the brown rice that my entire family still turns their nose at.
I don’t know what I was afraid of. Quinoa actually has a great texture. It reminds me of a cross between white rice and cous cous. But I knew I had to introduce it to my family in a way they would actually eat it, if I didn’t want to be met with great resistance.
So I decided to add bacon and cheese. What’s not to love?
So, first you want to cook some quinoa. I mixed 1 cup of quinoa with two cups of water and a pat of butter. Brought it to a boil and then covered it, lowering the temperature to low and letting it simmer for 15-20 minutes.
While I was waiting for that, I began to fry half a pack of bacon in my cast iron skillet.
And start making a roux by melting 1/2 stick of butter and then mixing it with 1/4 cup of flour.
Next, wisk in 1.5 cups of chicken stock. Raise heat and stir until thickened.
Once thick, lower heat and mix in 1.5 cup of grated cheese. I used a cheddar-jack mix.
Stir it in until you have a nice and creamy cheese sauce. Turn off heat.
By this time your quinoa should be just about ready. Reserve a tiny bit of bacon grease in your skillet, and pour in the quinoa.
Look how nice and fluffy.
Add your cheese sauce, and mix well.
I sometimes get a little messy when I stir.
Lastly, stick the skillet under your broiler in the oven for about 5 minutes, to get the cheese nice and brown.
Ta-dah!! Quite yummy.
Now in all honesty, I must tell you, my oldest did not care for the dish, even with the bacon and cheese… she thought the texture too much like grits (which she doesn’t like). The rest of us thought it was good, however, and I will definitely be cooking with quinoa again!
Cheesy Quinoa with Bacon
1 cup dry quinoa, cooked
1/2 pack bacon, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1.5 cup chicken broth or stock
1.5 cup grated cheese
1/2 to 1 cup grated parmesan
While the quinoa is cooking, fry the bacon and set aside on a paper towel to dry. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour. When thoroughly mixed, slowly add in the chicken stock, whisking the entire time. Bring up the heat and stir until thick. Lower heat and add cheese, mixing until creamy.
Pour the cooked quinoa into the skillet (with a tiny bit of reserved bacon grease). Pour the cheese sauce over the quinoa and mix well. Top with bacon pieces and parmesan cheese. Put under broiler in oven for about 5 minutes, until cheese is melted and browns. Serve immediately.