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Recipe Friday: Quinoa Chowder with Spinach, Feta, and Scallions

Posted on: February 3, 2012

Happy New Month!

A time to renew ourselves and make new plans, right? Especially since the weather has been shining bright upon us up here. I checked the weather report, and it’s not supposed to rain again until next FRIDAY. Yes, that’s next week. Do I live in Seattle????

I wish I could get in all of my running now! I’m doing my best to train for an April half-marathon. My last major hip surgery was only 11 months ago, so I’m taking an easier path. I’m using one of Hal Higdon’s plans and hope to get to the starting line! I have no time goals, since this is proof of concept that I can actually run one again, but maybe next time I’ll improve my pace!

So, I just made an interesting soup for a lunch group. Interesting? Yes… because I read the recipe and had no idea what it would taste like! So I had to do it. And… it’s subtle but comforting. Fluffy, light quinoa, and the feta melts into the warm soup just enough to make the broth lightly creamy. The texture is light, not too brothy, and hearty for a chilly winter day. Try it!

Quinoa Chowder with Spinach, Feta, and Scallions
from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone (Deborah Madison)

3/4 c quinoa, rinsed
2 T olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely minced (or more, if you’re me)
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and finely minced
1 tsp ground cumin or more to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound boiling potatoes (I used yukon gold), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 bunch scallions, including an inch of the greens, finely sliced into rounds
3 c finely chopped spinach
1/4 lb feta cheese, finely chopped
1/3 c chopped cilantro
(1 hard-cooked egg, chopped. I don’t like hard boiled eggs, so I omitted this.)

1. Put the quinoa and 2 quarts water in a pot, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. While it’s cooking, dice the vegetables and cheese. Drain, saving the liquid. Measure the liquid and add water to make 6 cups if needed.

2. Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and chile. Cook for 30 seconds, giving it a quick stir.

3. Add the cumin, 1 tsp salt, and the potatoes and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently. Don’t let the garlic brown. Add the quinoa water (which smells so nutty and good… kinda like me) and half the scallions and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

4. Add the quinoa, spinach, and remaining scallions and simmer for 3 minutes more. Turn off the heat and stir in the feta and cilantro. Season the soup with pepper and garnish with the chopped egg (if you’re into that sort of thing).

This is supposedly South American… but I can’t vouch for it. I know! I need to take a field trip there to find out where this soup is native to, don’tcha think?

Enjoy! Happy weekend!

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