Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Quinoa Chowder with Kale, Feta and Leeks

This hearty chowder was a hit with the Methow Endurance Women's Trail Running and Yoga Retreat group. As we move into fall my body starts craving simple warm and filling dishes. This chowder is excellent because its easy to make and absolutely delicious.

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Serves 4-6

3/4 cup quinoa, any color or variety
8 cups (2 quarts) water, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped or to taste
1 jalapeño chile, seeded and finely diced or to taste
1/2 lb par-boiled potatoes, peeled cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 teaspoon ground cumin or to taste
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1 bunch scallions or garden leeks, include the greens thinly sliced
3 cups thinly sliced spinach or garden kale (about 1 bunch)
4 ounces feta cheese, small dice (about 1 cup)
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 hard-cooked egg, peeled and finely chopped

1.) Rinse the quinoa in a strainer under cold water until the water runs clear.
2.) Bring the quinoa and the 8 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the white outer casings on the quinoa have popped, revealing translucent little beads, about 10 to 15 minutes.
3.) Strain the quinoa through a fine-mesh strainer set over a large heatproof bowl. Measure the quinoa cooking liquid and add water as needed to make 6 cups; set the quinoa and cooking liquid aside.
4.) Heat the olive oil in a large, clean saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and jalapeño and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the potatoes, cumin, and measured salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes begin to soften, adjusting the heat as necessary so that the garlic doesn’t brown, about 3 minutes.
5.) Add the reserved cooking liquid and half of the scallions and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes.

6.) Add the cooked quinoa, spinach, and remaining scallions and simmer until the spinach just begins to wilt, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the feta and cilantro. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Top with the chopped egg and serve.

Inspired by Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone (2007).

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