Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Amaranth, quinoa, and corn chowder

amaranth, quinoa, and corn chowder, adapted from Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way by Lorna Sass
After my so-so experience with amaranth, I knew that I had to try it again in a different dish that would allow me to better appreciate its corny flavor. I figured that I could rely on Lorna Sass for my answer.

Amaranth, quinoa, and corn chowder (adapted from "Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way" by Lorna Sass)

1 1/2 Tbsp butter, divided
2 small leeks, chopped
1/2 cup diced celery
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
pinch of salt
2 Tbsp amaranth
1/4 cup quinoa
1/8 tsp dried thyme
2 cups corn kernels (I thawed frozen ones)
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced

Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add leeks, celery, bell pepper, and salt and cook until veggies are tender (about 5 min). Add amaranth and 1 1/2 cups of water. Increase to high heat and bring to a boil, then add quinoa and thyme. Return to a boil, reduce heat slightly, and cook partially covered for 10 min. While this is cooking, puree 1 1/2 cups of corn with 1/2 cup of water in a blender or food processor. After the 10 min is up, add pureed corn and remaining corn kernels. Reduce heat and simmer until amaranth and quinoa are done (the white dot in the middle of the quinoa will go away; about 5 min). Stir in remaining butter and milk and garnish with parsley.

This is good, and a much better use of amaranth, in my opinion. Obviously its corn-like flavor goes well with actual corn. I wonder how this would be with all amaranth and no quinoa...

There was nothing miraculous about this chowder, but it's good. I'm sure it would be even better with fresh corn and half-and-half or cream instead of milk (but I bet I could say that about everything!). Be careful with the parsley - this is what prompted the comment about choking on parsley when it's used as a garnish. In fact, I would nix the parsley all together unless you really love it. Instead, save that bunch for kookoo sabzi.

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