Last weekend I wanted to cook something light in anticipation of the heavy feasting later this month. A quinoa chowder from Deborah Madison fit the bill perfectly. The creamy feta is a nice counterpoint to the smoky heat of the chipotle chiles.
Quinoa Chowder with Spinach, Feta and Scallions
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison
3/4 cup quinoa
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and finely diced *
1 tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper
1/2 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
3 cups finely sliced spinach leaves
1/4 pound feta cheese, finely diced
about 6 quarts water, divided
* Used about two chipotles in adobo.
Simmer the quinoa for 15 minutes in 2 quarts of water. Then drain and reserve the liquid.
In a braising pot, heat the olive oil and add the garlic and chile. Stir-fry for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the cumin, a good pinch of salt and the potatoes. Cook briefly without letting the garlic take any colour. Add the quinoa water and top it off to about 6 quarts. Add half the scallions and simmer until the potatoes are tender about 15 minutes. Add the quinoa, spinach and the rest of the scallions and simmer for about 5 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir
in the feta.