Cheater “Paella” (Quinoa Based)

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(Originally published on my old blog SECS vs PCOS in August 2012)

pa·el·la (pä- l , pä- lyä, – yä). n. A saffron-flavored Spanish dish made with varying combinations of rice, vegetables, meat, chicken, and seafood. (thefreedictionary.com)

My fiance and I wandered around Whole Foods today and stumbled upon a sample of paella.  It was yummy, and I’ve been wanting to try to make it.  We aren’t rich enough to keep saffron stocked, and I wanted to keep it more PCOS-friendly by subbing quinoa for the rice.  I looked at a couple of recipes and threw this together with what I had on hand.  It turned out really nicely and makes quite a bit- I think we’ll end up freezing about half of the leftovers.

Cheater “Paella” (quinoa based)

1 lb chicken, chunked

1 sweet onion, slivered

1 spicy chorizo

2 cups dry quinoa

1 can Italian tomatoes (could use plain diced tomatoes or similar, this is just what I had on hand)

cumin

nutmeg

paprika

dry mustard

black pepper

chili powder

garlic

oil

chicken broth

Prep your chicken and onion, heat oil in large pan (I used my AWESOME wok).  Add onion, chicken, and crumbled chorizo to hot oil, let onions soften and meats cook.  Add spices to your liking- I used a heavy hand with the garlic (as always) and just a touch of chili powder since the chorizo was already spicy.  I only added a dash of cumin and dry mustard, I ended up with 2-3 dashes of nutmeg, and a heavy shake of black pepper.  I did not add salt since the chorizo and chicken broth are already salty.  (By the way, traditional paella has saffron- and rice, not quinoa).

After the onions, meats, and spices are cooked and melding together, add the tomatoes and let things simmer together some more, then add 2 cups of chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Add quinoa and stir, reduce heat to a simmer.  Let cook until most of the moisture has been absorbed and quinoa is cooked (about 15 minutes).  You can add more vegetables when the dish is almost ready (such as asparagus, broccoli, green peas, etc)- I didn’t because I was already pushing my luck with the fiance by adding the tomatoes 🙂 Also, it would be yummy to dice red bell pepper and cook that with the onions and meats (the fiance hates bell peppers).  This concoction was surprisingly filling and delicious.  I highly recommend it.  Be kind to your blood sugar, waist, and wallet 🙂

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