In the summer of 2007, I escaped to Peru for a few weeks of adventure. Peru truly offers the best of all worlds… the beautiful coastal desert, the breathtaking Andes and the mysterious Inca ruins, and of course, the mesmerizing amazon jungle.
On the way to Lake Titicaca and Cusco, our group spent a couple of days in the charming colonial city of Arequipa. One evening, we decided to try the restaurant of the Santa Catalina Monastery for dinner.
It is there that I had a wondrous, creamy yet light, quinoa corn chowder. It was so tasty that I fanatically pulled the journal from my bag to write down the ingredients, so as to recreate it in Toronto. A year and a half later, this is my first attempt.
Peruvian Quinoa Corn Chowder
- 2 tbsp butter* or olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups chopped leeks
- 1 cup finely diced celery
- 1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup amaranth
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- 4 cups fresh or frozen sweet corn kernels, thawed
- 1 cup whole milk* or soy milk
- 2 tbsp minced parsley, for garnish
In a large pot, sauté the leeks, celery and bell pepper in 2 tablespoons of butter for about 5 minutes. Season with salt.
Stir in the amaranth with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the quinoa and thyme and return to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, purée 3 cups of the corn with 1 cup of water in a blender or food processor. When the quinoa has cooked for 10 minutes, stir the corn purée and remaining whole corn kernels into the soup. Add salt to taste. Reduce the heat and simmer until the quinoa and amaranth are tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the milk. Divide into portions and garnish each with finely chopped parsley.
Note: For a vegan version, replace the butter with olive oil, and use soy milk instead of whole milk.
Serves 6-8. Recipe adapted from Lorna Sass’ Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way.