We’re still on a soup roll around here. Even though the weather’s still relatively mild, it still feels right this time of year. This soup is also from Deborah Madison’s Vegetable Soups and as with all I’ve made from it so far, was a perfect blending of flavors, textures, and heartiness. There are warm tender chunks of potato; juicy, sweet kernels of corn; tangy, salty bits of feta and the quinoa gives it some good backbone in the protein department. Everyone at the table was slurping and asking for seconds, even thirds. I love it when that happens.

Quinoa, Corn & Spinach Chowder

from Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen

3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed well in a sieve

2 ears of corn
2 Tablespoons olive oil 
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 jalapeno chile, diced and seeded  
1 teaspoon ground cumin 
salt and pepper
1/2 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/4″ cubes
7 cups water or stock
3 cups finely chopped spinach
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, including about 1 inch of the green
1/3 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 lb. feta cheese, diced 
1 hard boiled egg, chopped (I skipped this step)

Put the quinoa in 2 quarts stock, bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.  While the quinoa is cooking, chop your vegetables and cheese.  Drain the quinoa when it’s done and reserve the liquid.  You should have about 7 cups of liquid, add more stock if necessary.

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat.  Add the garlic and chile (or chile flakes).  Cook for about 30 seconds, then add the cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and potatoes.  Cook for a few minutes but don’t let the garlic brown.  Add the quinoa stock and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes.  Add the quinoa, spinach and remaining scallions and simmer for 2 minutes.  Turn off the heat and add the corn, feta and cilantro. Season with pepper and garnish with chopped egg (if using).