Quinoa Corn Chowder with Dill

Our family was vegetarian and dairy-free for eight years, and while neither of those adjectives describes us any longer, our eating habits are forever changed. Some of the things we still enjoy are meat-free dishes, as well as a broader palate of foods. A now favored [pseudo]grain in our household, quinoa takes well to a number of preparations. Equally impressive is its list of nutritional data:

  • about 36% soluble fiber and 64% in-soluble fiber
  • gluten-free
  • low glycemic index
  • high protein

The best part? Quinoa has an amazing crispy texture once cooked, making it a tasty choice for this soup.

Let’s start with some onion, garlic, and celery sautéed in a few tablespoons of butter until the onion is translucent and just beginning to brown.

Smells great already!

Smells great already!

Now we should stir in just a bit of smoked spanish paprika and salt. Let’s add a bay leaf and chicken (or vegetable) stock, too.

Oh, and better not forget the quinoa.

uncooked quinoa

And we mustn’t forget the potatoes either. Cooking them along with the quinoa allows the soup to thicken a bit on its own.

potatoes

We’re ready to let the soup simmer for about 20-30 minutes, just until the potatoes are done. At this point the quinoa will be done, as well.

How can we tell? Simple!

First, quinoa only takes about 15 minutes to cook. Second, each grain will have become transparent, and the spiral-like germ will have become noticeable, sometimes separating from the grain.

Now let’s add some corn, dill weed and milk.

I know; I know! Many chowders use half-and-half or even cream. But I figure that this is looking fairly healthy right now, and the potatoes have thickened the broth a bit already. Why mess with a good thing? The butter we sautéed the mirepoix in added a nice bit of umami (how did that word suddenly become trés trendy?) and richness, as did the chicken stock.

Ok, so the milk was cold, and the corn may have been also.

We’ll let the soup sit on the heat for another 5 minutes or so, just until heated through and the temperature has come back up to almost a simmer.

Looks like it’s time to eat! The actual recipe is below.

Quinoa Corn Chowder

Quinoa Corn Chowder with Dill (printer friendly version)
serves 6

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. Butter
1 medium Onion, diced
2 Garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 stalks Celery, chopped
1/2 – 1 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Smoked Spanish Paprika
4 cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock
1 Bay Leaf
1/2 cup uncooked Quinoa, rinsed
1 large Russet Potato, cubed
1 cup fresh or frozen Corn
1 cup Milk
2 Tbsp. fresh Dill or 1 1/2 tsp dried Dill Weed

Directions:

In a stockpot melt butter. Sauté onion, garlic and celery until onion is translucent and beginning to brown. Stir in salt and paprika. Add stock, bay leaf, quinoa, and potato. Bring to a simmer.

Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.

To soup add corn, milk and dill. Heat for another 5 minutes or so, just until corn is heated through and soup has again reached a simmer.

Serve immediately.

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