Saturday, June 8, 2013

Sopa de Quinua y Pollo (Quinoa & Chicken Soup)

My quinoa was almost gone. So far, I have made quinoa pancakes, quinoa apple muffins, cheesy quinoa bites, and also as a side dish for pork chops – all of them were delicious. I think now that it’s almost gone: it’s time to make quinoa soup.

Quinoa soup cooking
Quinoa soup simmering

We spent about 12 days in Peru and had an amazing time. Because the evenings were cool, we often enjoyed a hearty bowl of soup as an appetizer. On our first evening with our guide, we enjoyed a restaurant that specialized in soup. I am trying to remember what flavors were in that; all I remember is garlic, quinoa, and a reddish broth. Not sure how they achieved the reddish broth.

I found a recipe for Peruvian-style quinoa soup. However, the recipes called for beef, and we do not eat a lot of beef. I decided to use chicken instead. As a result, I had to adjust the cooking method a bit. I originally wanted to use chicken thighs to get a bit of that chicken fat goodness, but our local grocery store ran out, so I opted for legs instead. If you prefer white meat, you can use chicken breasts.

My initial recipe is below. It may still evolve, but this is something that we can put in our regular rotation.

Sopa de Quinua y Pollo (Quinoa & Chicken Soup)
Yield: 2-3 servings

  • 3 chicken legs
  • 3 cups of chicken broth, low sodium
  • 1/4 medium onion, diced (about ½ c)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 3 pieces of garlic
  • 1/3 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup of white potato*
  • 1/2 cup of red potato*
  • 1/2 cup of carrots*
  • 1/2 cup leek greens, finely chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime, optional

* Note, this does not have to be exact. As long as you have about a cup and a half of potatoes and carrots, you should be okay.

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot and fry the garlic until it softens. Add the onions and let it soften (approximately for 6-8 minutes)
  2. Combine chicken and let it cook until the fat, if any renders out. Skim out the excess fat.
  3. Add the chicken broth in the pot. Bring to a boil and simmer until the chicken is cooked, about 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the chicken and cut in bite size pieces. Return the chicken to the pot and add the quinoa. Continue to simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Add the carrots, potatoes, and garlic to the pot. Continue to simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  6. Add the leeks and continue to simmer. Adjust the seasoning with additional salt, Cook for about 5 more minutes, then remove from heat.
  7. Serve with the fresh parsley and cilantro. Add some lime juice, if preferred.


Quinoa soup serving

  • This was an excellent soup, and it really brings memories of our trip to Peru. When you taste along the way, it may seem a bit bland. Since we prefer low sodium meals, I resisted adding salt. At the end, it all comes together and is very tasty. My husband thorughly enjoyed it.
  • Serving the herbs fresh gave the dish a touch of welcome freshness. So did adding the lime. The original recipe called for adding them while cooking and that may add another levels of flavor to the soup.
  • As with any good soup, don’t forget to serve this with canchita (Peruvian “popcorn” – it is more like roasted corn) and aji (Peruvian hot sauce). Maybe next time I would not be lazy and drive to the Peruvian grocery.

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