November 4, 2012

Hearty Quinoa and Corn Chowder

For the last couple of weeks it seemed that fall had by-passed my area. Trick-or-treat was postponed due to snow and power outages, which I never remember having happened before. My oldest son remarked that it looked like Christmas October. Luckily this weekend the weather was in the 60's and it actually felt like fall. I am someone that absolutely loves fall. The leaves changing and the start of the holidays puts me in a great mood. All the baking and cooking remind me of growing-up in a very large family (my mom was the oldest of twelve). There is something so relaxing about baking an apple or pumpkin pie and a meal with lots of sides. One of my favorite fall dishes is soup. I love pretty much any type of soup that can be thought up and I make soup or stew at least once a week in the colder months. Recently, I tried a new recipe for Hearty Quinoa and Corn Chowder from the October/November issue of Taste of Home magazine, which looked perfect for the crisp fall weather.

This recipe has 15 ingredients. It takes 25 minutes of prep and 15 minutes of cooking and makes 14 servings. I had no problems finding any of the ingredients at my local grocery store, even the super store in my area now stocks quinoa, which is a welcome change. Since I am now eating gluten-free I substituted the all-purpose flour used in the recipe for gluten-free cornstarch. I use cornstarch in recipes frequently, especially soups and stews, it thickens just as well as flour and can be found gluten-free. Since corn isn't in season I used frozen corn and as I normally do I made my own vegetable stock. If you have never made your own veggie stock, you really should try it. Vegetable stock can literally be made with any leftover fridge veggies, onions, carrots and a few bay leaves and let it simmer for a couple of hours. I do not salt my homemade stock since I like to add salt to the recipe directly instead. The recipe stirs in the last ingredients and serves the chowder immediately. I let my chowder cook for another 15 minutes on a low temp in order for all the flavors to blend. With soup I prefer a little longer on the cook time in order for the soup to be just right. I followed the remainder of the recipe as written.

If you are looking for a recipe to feed a crowd this is the one to pick. This recipe made enough for two meals for my family of four plus a bunch of freezer leftovers. My two boys really like this soup. They both thought that it was corn soup and didn't notice the quinoa at all. I liked that it has quinoa and pinto beans for protein with the traditional chowder consistency and feel. If you are trying to watch your calories and fat the heavy whipping cream could be substituted for milk. I do this frequently in recipes. Just make sure that you add enough flour for the chowder to thicken adequetely. Overall, a great fall recipe that is very kid friendly.

For the link go to Hearty Quinoa and Corn Chowder. (registration required)

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