Friday, January 20, 2012

Snow Days Equal Soup Days

I was sure I was tired of soup after making it every week for a year, but I confess, soup remains one of my favorite meals in the winter and since we've been snowed in here for the past week, I'm hungry for a bowl of comfort. That's why I was happy to find the latest issue of Vegetarian Journal in my mailbox.

Inside the magazine was the article I'd written about South American soups. As soon as I spotted the Peruvian Quinoa Chowder, I knew our dinner doldrums were on the decline.

Seriously, back to soup and Vegetarian Journal. I've been a fan of Vegetarian Resource Group before I started writing articles for Vegetarian Journal. It's hard to believe that in 1999, Melt-in-Your-Mouth Vegan Desserts was the first article I'd published with them, and I've got to say I still look forward to reading every issue. The current issue is compelling. I can't wait to read "The Ghetto Vegetarian" by Holly Green and reviews that include Big Vegan by Robin Asbell and World Vegan Feast by Bryanna Clark Grogan are on my "must read" list tonight. Even though I'm not big on buying more of anything these days, I have allotted myself 6 new books for 2012, so I may put these on my wish list.

(FYI: Last time I checked, you could buy Vegetarian Journal at Third Place Books and maybe at University Books, if you're interested, or you could just subscribe here.)

South American Soups

South American soups range from delicate consomme to hearty stews. From breakfast, to lunch, to dinner and dessert, soup plays an important role in daily fare since pre-Colombian times and most soups are simply flavored, drawing inspiration from the foods of indigenous populations and evolved over time as Europeans, Asians and Africans contributed flavors and ingredients.

When I started to research South American soups, I'd expected to see them laden with meat. And many are, but surprisingly meatless soups thickened with grains--dried maize (corn) or beans, quinoa, amaranth, potatoes and squash soups have ties to pre-Columbian times. According to Maria Baez Kijac in The South American Table old fashioned, thick-as-polenta soups were mostly all meatless before the Spaniards arrived. Who knew?

Meat consumption increased after the Portugeese and Spaniards arrived but even today one can find meatless porridge like hominy soup called locro in Argintina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. (However, don't ask me where, my own Cooking Assistant won't allow the vacation days.)

This recipe is a rerun from last year, but it's so perfect now because most ingredients are pantry staples. I don't have a sweet potato, so I'll use carrots and I have frozen corn not peas. But that's the beauty of soup, it's adaptable to what you have in your pantry.

One should always have a well-stocked pantry for those crazy random snow days.


Debbie @ Easy Natural Food said...

What a great soup, and as you say, very adaptable to whatever you have on hand. Never thought of a grain-based chowder, but I love the idea of using quinoa in a chowder! Thanks for bringing this to Sunday Night Soup Night.

Debra Daniels-Zeller said...

Thanks Debbie, I like adding the quinoa, like pasta, at the last minute because when left for too long, the quinoa keeps absorbing liquid.