I must have been inspired by Peru this week because I am moving on from pisco and now posting about a soup with quinoa. Quinoa is considered a super food by many because it is low in calories and high in protein and fiber. It has been grown for thousands of years and was a staple in Ancient Incan culture. I had the best quinoa soup in Cuzco, Peru the day before heading to Machu Picchu. Cuzco is located at an elevation of 11,200 ft. so the first day we arrived I had a very hard time adjusting to the altitude. At restaurants they served Coca tea which is made from the same plant cocaine comes from. The tea is supposed to help with altitude sickness and tastes like a strong green tea. I had the worst headache the first day in Cuzco and Isaac and I tried to walk around but ended up in bed most of the day.
At night we found ourselves in a cozy quiet restaurant and hot soup was all I could stomach. Quinoa soup was on the menu and it was comforting, hearty, healthy, and Isaac ate it. SO, that is code for “find a recipe back home that Isaac will eat.” He can be picky sometimes. So I found this recipe on www.skinnytaste.com which is a site I visit frequently and have adapted it over time. I hope you like it and I know you have a box of quinoa in your pantry that you bought at Trader Joes after reading about the health benefits but never know how to use it in a recipe. Well, today is your lucky day.
Beef, Potato, & Quinoa Soup (adapted from www.skinnytaste.com)
Makes about 4 servings or in the case of last night, one hungry man, one 8 month pregnant best friend, and myself. No leftovers were to be found.
2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
6 scallions, chopped (use the white and green part. also called green onions)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tomato, diced
1 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. dry parsley
1/2 to 3/4 lb. filet mignon (beef tenderloin) cubed into bite size pieces
5 cups of water (plus more if you need to thin the soup out if you reheat it)
1 beef bullion
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 Tbsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup shredded pecorino romano cheese
In a dutch oven, add the oil. When hot, add scallions and sauté over medium heat, about three minutes. Add garlic and sauté about thirty seconds until fragrant. Add tomato, cumin, 1 tsp. dry parsley, and cook 2 minutes. Add beef, 5 cups water, bullion, carrot, yellow pepper, salt, pepper, and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low about 90 minutes. The meat will be tender and your house will smell amazing.
Add potato and cooked quinoa and cook an additional 25 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tsp of dry parsley. When ready to serve, garnish with the pecorino romano cheese.
*If the soup thickens before you serve it, just add one or two cups of water to thin in out before serving.
*Whenever I chop for a meal, I use a garbage bowl to dump all the scraps into. That way I am not running to and from the cutting board to the garbage can across the room and my cutting board remains neat. I learned this tip from Rachel Ray and have done it for years. I took a picture of my garbage bowl but was grossed out by the picture so I’ll spare you the visual.
*Soup always tastes better the longer it sits. If you have time, make it a day in advance and then store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat.
*I know you may be thinking- Filet Mignon in a soup? But it is economical in this dish because you use such a small amount. The meat is so tender and you don’t have remove any fat. It’s worth it! My beef for this recipe was 12 bucks.
Some pics from Cuzco!