When my sister lived in Peru, she would tell me about the simplicity of the local food of the region, stressing how fresh and flavorful it was. Actually, anyone I've talked to that has travelled to Peru, has said that Peruvian food is some of the tastiest food they have ever experienced! So, it doesn't surprise me that quinoa, and other Andean staples have become so popular over the past ten years. I want to honor this ancestral food, with a simple preparation, using Swiss chard, amaranth leaves, and a little heat from a chile manzano. If you cannot find amaranth leaves, simply use more chard, or substitute with fresh spinach.
4 garlic cloves, mashed to a paste
1 chile *Manzano, seeded and coarsely minced
6 leaves of red Swiss chard, coarsely chopped, stems cut into 1/4-inch slices
small handful of fresh **amaranth leaves, coarsely chopped
2 cups quinoa, rinsed
4 tablespoons olive oil
MISE EN PLACE
First, prepare the quinoa:
In a large saucepan, combine quinoa with 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered for about 10 minutes. Drain very well and set aside.
In a large sauté pan, warm the olive oil on medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until just golden, about 30 seconds. Add the onion and chiles and cook until the onion is soft and slightly golden, about 6 - 7 minutes. Add the Swiss chard and amaranth leaves, and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in the cooked quinoa. If you have any leftovers, it tastes even better the next day!
Sinchi wiksayuq, kusi sunquyuq
"Full stomach, happy heart" - Quechua Proverb
*chile manzanos can be found at many Mexican grocery stores.
**Look for amaranth leaves at your local farmer's market or Asian grocery stores. The amaranth I used for this recipe was Hopi Red Amaranth from my backyard.
Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz, LLC ©