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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Millet, Quinoa, and Corn Chowder Soup

This hearty chowder is a great way to add different grains into your diet. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. I adapted this recipe from "Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way," by Lorna Sass.

Serves 6

3 Tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups finely chopped leeks (white and light green parts)
1 cup finely diced celery
1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt; plus more to taste
1/4 amaranth or millet
1/2 cup ivory quinoa, thoroughly rinsed
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
4 cups fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
4 cups stock (chicken, turkey, or vegetable)
1 cup whole milk
2 Tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley
Pepper, to taste

1. In a large heavy pot, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Stir in the leeks, celery, red bell pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.

2. Stir in the amaranth or millet and 3 cups of stock. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the quinoa and thyme. Return to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly and cook at a gentle boil, partially covered, for 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, puree 3 cups of the corn kernels with 1 cup of stock. When the quinoa has cooked for 10 minutes, stir the corn puree and the remaining corn kernels into the soup. Add salt to taste. Reduce the heat and simmer until the quinoa and amaranth or millet are tender, 3 to 5 more minutes. When the quinoa is done, there will be no starchy white dot in the center of each grain, and some of the germs' "tails" may unfurl and float freely. On close inspection, the amaranth or millet will look like tiny opaque bubbles floating on the surface.

4. Stir in the milk and remaining tablespoon of butter. Add more salt, if needed, and pepper to taste. Divide into portions and garnish each with a little parsley.

The soup thickens upon standing; thin as needed with additional milk, and add salt to taste.