Quinoa Soup with Feta Cheese
- SERVINGS: 6
Simple, hearty soups made with protein-rich quinoa and peanuts are a staple of Ecuador's rugged Andean region.
- 1 1/4 cups (7 ounces) quinoa
- 7 cups water
- 1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons Annatto Oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 4 ounces feta cheese, preferably French, or queso blanco, crumbled (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 cup chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Freshly ground pepper
- Ají, for serving
- In a large saucepan, cover the quinoa with 6 cups of the water and bring to a boil. Simmer the quinoa over moderate heat until just tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well. Meanwhile, in a mini food processor, process the peanuts until finely ground; do not overprocess.
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter in the Annatto Oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add half of the feta cheese and the ground cumin and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the milk, potatoes and the remaining 1 cup of water and season generously with salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the potatoes are softened, about 20 minutes. Stir in the chicken stock, heavy cream, quinoa, peanuts and the remaining feta and simmer the soup for 5 minutes. Season the quinoa soup with salt and pepper. Serve at once in warmed soup bowls, passing the Ají at the table.