Garnet Pilaf

garnet pilaf-2In the spirit of the New Year and the reflection that goes along with it, I was going to tell you about everything I learned last year. I composed the entire post, read it, reread it, read it again, and deleted it. It was contrived, not real. And if I learned one thing last year, it’s the importance of telling a raw honesty, of opening your heart, of letting yourself be vulnerable. This year, my goal – resolution if you will – is to implement what was learned last year. To express without a filter. To share without fear. To walk through each day with a love so powerful that the brick wall of vulnerability has carved in to it a gate. Lofty, indeed, but lofty goal and big dreams are what let the mad world spin on so to speak.

Enough about New Year’s and on to this dish, which I made way back in June. Yes, I know that was over half a year ago. I’ll spare you the reason behind its delay and instead just reassure you that the lag in posting is in no way a reflection of its deliciousness. No, no. When my family sat down to a beautiful early summer meal on our back porch, we all agreed that this dish was a winner. Whole foods – sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa – make it an appealing dish to the health nut (mom cough cough). The variety of flavor though – sweetness from the potatoes, spice from the paprika, tartness from the vinegar – lend itself to the palette of a health averse, taste aficionado (dad cough cough). Just try it. Trust me.

Garnet Pilaf

adapted (barely) from the Sprouted Kitchen

1/2 cup brown rice

2 sweet potatoes (about 1.5 lbs)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 tablespoon smoked paprika, divided

Sea salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 cup onion (yellow or red), diced

1/2 cup red quinoa, rinsed

1 cup water or broth of choice

2 tablespoons red wine or sherry vinegar

Red chili flakes (optional)

1/3 cup fresh chives, chopped

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Rinse and cook the brown rice according to instructions. This takes the longest, so start the rice first.

Wash and dice the sweet potatoes into 1 inch cubes. Pile them on a large, rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 tablespoon of the smoked paprika, sea salt, and pepper. Toss everything together with your hands to coat and spread them out in a single layer. Roast on the middle rack for 20-25 minutes until the edges are browned and crisp .

In a pot, add a drizzle of olive oil and saute the diced onion until just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the quinoa, a pinch of sea salt, water or broth of choice and bring it to a boil. Turn it down to a simmer, cover and cook for about 15-17 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. Turn off the heat, fluff with a fork and cover it for another few minutes to finish.

When both the rice and quinoa are cooked, put them both in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon olive oil, remaining 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika, red wine vinegar, and chili flakes. Toss everything together to mix. Taste for salt and pepper adding more if necessary. Top with the cubes of sweet potatoes and  fresh chives. Serve. (If everything is not piping hot at this point that’s ok. The dish is delicious slightly warmer than room temperature and equally good cold the next day.)

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