I’m sitting at my desk, wrapped in a furry sweater, trying to accept the fact that rainy season has arrived in Portland. The first week of rain tends to be especially depressing, mostly because you know it’s going to last until June.
Never one to harp on the negative, I’m choosing to think of “rainy season” as “soup season”. (In my head it goes something like this: Eight months of soup? Wow, that sounds fantastic!) And since I have an open box of quinoa on the shelf and a package of shrimp in the fridge, it looks like Peruvian Quinoa Chowder is first up to bat.
This soup is dead simple to make, basically a matter of adding the ingredients to the pot a few at a time and letting them do their thing. Start off by sautéeing the aromatics–green onions, garlic, and chiles–then add tomato paste, cumin, and oregano for another layer of flavor. Add the quinoa and some broth (I use chicken broth, but you could use vegetable broth or a combination of clam juice and water) and simmer until the quinoa cooks. Toward the end, slip the corn and half-and-half into the pot, followed shortly thereafter by the salted shrimp (I pre-salt the shrimp for added flavor, but realistically you could skip this step). A hit of lime juice and cilantro is all it takes to bring you one step closer to Peru.
No doubt the Peruvian Quinoa Chowder can stand on its own as a hearty meal, but if you want to go for an all-out South American love fest, then bake some Brazilian Cheese Puffs to serve alongside the soup. You’ll be glad you did! Cheers ~LbR