March 6, 2014

Roasted Corn, Veggies & Quinoa Chowder

I was seriously contemplating with myself.... on whether to call this recipe a soup (or) chowder. Chowder is presumably thick, cream-based and is one of the many variations of soup while soup is much thinner and uses only broth. So, now you know why I call this thick, heavy cream based recipe a "chowder".

But, whatever you call it, this simple, hearty, nutrient-rich recipe has bunch of colorful veggies, roasted in oven to perfection and blended together into one thick, creamy & delicious soup. When it comes to seasonings, I have kept it really simple and straight-forward, with just salt & pepper. But, feel free to use seasonings of your choice ranging from cumin powder to chilli powder to fresh/dried herbs.

The thought of adding quinoa to the recipe occurred to me when the vegetables were in the oven and I must commend myself for making that choice. Quinoa adds a great texture & crunch to the soup and is very filling too! With a simple cheese toast on the side, this is one hearty, healthy meal that can satisfy your entire family!

And, this recipe is super simple and very forgiving too! All you have to do is to chop the vegetables in bigger chunks, toss them with spices into the oven. When done, use a blender/ food processor/ mixer and pulse it to your desired consistency. Add broth, cooked quinoa (left-over quinoa works great too!!), cream and bring it to a boil. I mean, can a recipe get any easier? I have also kept the ingredients list very simple.. most of the ingredients are pretty basic and would be readily available in any active kitchen! One great recipe that you can certainly customize with your favorite veggies & seasonings!

Basic Info
Complexity - Simple
Prep time - 10 mins
Cook time - 45 mins - 1 hr (includes oven roasting time)
Serves - about 5-6 servings

1 big red onion
4 cloves of garlic with skin
1 Potato
5-6 Tomatoes
1 red bell pepper
3 ears of corn, kernels separated
2 carrots

1 quart (3-4 cups) vegetable broth, low sodium
1/2 to 3/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup quinoa

2 tbsp Olive oil
Salt & pepper

Cook 1/2 cup of quinoa in 1 cup of vegetable broth and keep aside.

Preheat oven to 375 deg F.

Toss together corn kernels, diced potatoes, onion, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, olive oil and a lavish sprinkle of salt and pepper. Spread all the veggies in single layer in a baking pan. Place the baking pan in the oven and roast the veggies for about 30-40 minutes. At the 15 min mark, remove baking pan out of the oven and give the veggies a good toss so that they are flipped & moved around. Return it back to the oven and roast for another 15 or 20 mins.

Preheat broiler. Cut bell peppers into quarters lengthwise, discard seeds and membranes. Place them skin sides up, on a baking sheet. Broil for 10 minutes or until blackened. Place bell peppers in a paper bag and fold to close tightly. Let stand 10 minutes and peel off the skin. Also, peel off the skin from garlic & tomatoes too.

Add the roasted veggies into a blender, and blend it to desired consistency (chunky/smooth). Transfer this mixture into a saucepan, add cooked quinoa, rest of the vegetable broth and bring it to a boil. Add heavy cream, mix well and let it simmer on low heat for 5 mins. Adjust seasonings, if required and serve hot!!

Adapted from Sweet Pea's Kitchen.
- For vegan option, skip heavy cream.
- Reserve a handful of the oven-roasted corn for garnish if desired.
- A cup of left-over quinoa too works great for this recipe!!
- Sending this off to Made with Love Mondays!