Tag Archives: quinoa

Recipe: Bolivian Soup with Wheat Berries (Sopa de Trigo)

29 Jan

There are probably as many versions of this soup as there are Bolivian families, and all of them likely to be delicious, but this is the version that has evolved at our house over the years. I love the bright-red color that comes from the tomato and chili pastes; it brightens even the coldest, most dreary day. I also love the soup’s many layers of flavor, each one contributing to the overall symphony. It’s even better the next day, so it’s a great make-ahead dish. And it’s very adaptable: make a vegetarian version by eliminating the beef/lamb, adding more veggies, and using vegetable broth/bouillon. Or substitute quinoa for the wheat if gluten is an issue.

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Bolivian Soup with Wheat Berries (Sopa de Trigo)

Wheat/Hominy:
1/3-1/2 c. dry wheat berries/trigo pelado
1 can (14 0z./400 gr.) cooked hominy/mote blanco, undrained
–OR 1/2 c. dried cracked hominy (maiz blanco trillado)–see photo below

½ c. freeze-dried potato/black chuño (optional)

Soup broth:
12 c./3 liters beef broth
1 lb./500 gr. meaty, bone-in beef or lamb
1 large onion, halved
1 large tomato, quartered
2 carrots, peeled and halved
2 bay leaves
beef bouillon cubes (optional)

Soup Vegetables:
3/4 c. petite peas
2 large carrots, julienned
3 large potatoes, julienned (it’s traditional to julienne both the carrots and the potatoes, but I have been know to dice both instead…)

Sofrito:
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 lg. onion, finely diced
1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
1-2 tbsp. red aji (chili) paste (aji colorado/aji panca)–see photo below
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. dried oregano
coarsely ground black pepper, to taste

Toppings:
2 green onions, finely sliced
1 tsbp. finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh oregano
1 tbsp. finely chopped  fresh mint

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Dried cracked hominy

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Red aji (chili) paste

Preparation:

  1. Note: If using  the optional freeze-dried potato/chuño, soak it in warm water overnight prior to making the soup. Before adding it to the soup in step #5, drain it and squeeze as much water out as possible. If necessary, chop into small pieces.
  2. Place the wheat berries (and, if using, the dried hominy) in a medium saucepan, cover with several inches of water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 60-90 minutes or until both wheat and hominy are soft. Drain and set aside. If using canned hominy, pre-cook only the wheat, and add the undrained canned hominy to the soup in step #5.
  3. Meanwhile, add the broth and meat/bones to a large pot and bring to a low simmer, skimming periodically until no more foam is produced. Add the halved onion, quartered tomato, halved carrots, and the bay leaves and continue simmering slowly until the vegetables are soft, about 30 minutes. Check the seasonings and add beef bouillon cubes to taste, if needed.
  4. Remove the beef/lamb to a dish and let cool. Strain the broth through a fine-meshed sieve into a large bowl, mashing the tomato pieces to extract any remaining liquid. Return the broth to the pot and discard the vegetables.
  5. Shred the meat, discarding the bones and any fat, and add the shredded meat to the pot along with 1 c. of the cooked wheat, the hominy, the freeze-dried potato/chuño (if using), and the peas, carrots, and potatoes. Bring to a low simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare the sofrito: Heat the olive oil  in a skillet over medium-high heat, add the onion, and cook until soft and slightly golden. Add the remaining ingredients to the skillet and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently, to make a fragrant paste. Add the paste to the soup pot, stir to mix, and continue simmering the soup, covered, for 15 minutes or more to develop the flavors and ensure all vegetables are soft. If the soup seems too thick, add more water. If it needs more salt, add another bouillon cube.
  7. Serve with the sliced green onions and herbs sprinkled on top, and with plenty of crusty bread.

Recipe: Thai-Style Quinoa Salad

26 Aug

Quinoa is an Andean super food–one that has been cultivated for thousands of years. A source of complete protein, it is used and cooked like a grain, though it is technically a seed.  Because of its “exceptional nutritional qualities, its agro-ecological adaptability, and its potential contribution in the fight against hunger and malnutrition,” quinoa has been honored by the United Nations: 2013 will be the International Year of  Quinoa.

But quinoa deserves praise for its gastronomic adaptability, too. In this case, it makes a successful appearance in a salad with flavor origins a world away from the Andes. This salad, with its strong Thai accents, is a deliciously light and crisp summer dish.

Thai-Style Quinoa Salad
Serves 8-10
1 c. quinoa, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp. salt
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 carrot, shredded
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and sliced (if using English cucumber, no need to peel)
1/3 c. chopped fresh mint
1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro

Dressing
6 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. fish sauce (can substitute tamari or soy sauce)
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

Add quinoa, salt, and 1 1/2 c. water to a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 12-15 minutes, until water is absorbed. Turn off heat and let quinoa sit for 5 minutes. Place in a large serving bowl and let cool completely.

When quinoa is cool, add red bell pepper, carrot, and cucumber and mix well.

To make the dressing, whisk together the lime juice and sugar in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved. Stir in the fish sauce/tamari/soy sauce and red pepper flakes. Add the dressing to the salad and toss. Gently mix in the mint and cilantro.

Source: Raising the Salad Bar, by Catherine Walthers