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Quinoa and Mushroom Pilaf with Dill

Serves: 6
Per Serving:  312 calories, 8g fat, 51g carbs, 11g protein,6g fiber, 583mg sodium, 6mg chol
Serving Size:   approximately 1 cup

Quinoa: Pronounced “KEEN-wah” is a grain that comes from South America.  It was a cornerstone of the Inca diet, along with corn and potatoes.  Quinoa contains more protein than any other grain; the protein in quinoa is complete with an essential amino acid balance similar to milk.  The grain is most commonly available in red (nuttier flavor) or white and should be stored in the refrigerator.  Either can be served hot or cold and add a lovely texture to baked goods.  Both varieties are highly nutritious, providing B Vitamins, Vitamin E, calcium, iron, phosphorus and potassium.  A whole-grain dish of quinoa takes only 15 minutes.  It can be substituted for almost any grain in almost any recipe.  Give it a try!

Ingredients:

3 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth Course salt
1 oz mixed dried mushrooms         1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme
2 cups quinoa (red or white)        Freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil      1 Tbsp unsalted butter
8 oz cremini or white mushrooms, quartered   ¼ cup + 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
2 shallot, coarsely chopped     3 Tbsp finely chopped chives
2 Valencia or navel oranges, peel and pith removed, thinly sliced into rounds (optional) 

Cooking Instructions:

1. Bring stock to a boil; pour over dried mushrooms in a small bowl.  Soak until soft, about 6 minutes.  Pour liquid through a fine sieve into a bowl; set aside.  Coursely chop soaked mushrooms; set aside.
2. Rinse quinoa thoroughly in a fine sieve; drain.  Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking; add fresh mushrooms, shallots, and ¼ tsp salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms and shallots have released their liquid and are slightly caramelized, about 7 minutes.  Add quinoa; cook, stirring until it begins to pop and crackle, about 5 minutes.
3. Add reserved soaked mushrooms, reserved soaking liquid, and thyme to pot; bring to a boil.  Stir; cover, and reduce heat.  Simmer until quinoa is tender but still chewy, about 20 minutes.  Stir in ¼ tsp salt, pepper to taste and the butter. 
4. Just before serving, stir in dill and chives; add oranges (if desired), and gently toss.

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