Jason Varney
From his native Ecuador, Jose Garces' quinoa chowder with sweet corn.
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Quinoa Chowder with Sweet Corn

Jose Garces, The Latin Road Home: Savoring the Foods of Ecuador, Spain, Cuba, Mexico & Peru / December 2012

Adapted from The Latin Road Home: Savoring the Foods of Ecuador, Spain, Cuba, Mexico & Peru by Jose Garces.

For 4 servings

Ají costeño:

  • 1/2 red Fresno chile, seeds and ribs removed and finely chopped
  • 1/2 plum tomato, finely diced
  • 1/4 Spanish onion, finely diced
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsps. parsley, minced
  • 2 Tbsps. cilantro, minced
  • 2 Tbsps. distilled white vinegar
  • 2 Tbsps. lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. agave nectar
  • kosher salt
  1. Mix all ingredients except salt in a bowl.

  2. Place half of vegetable mixture in another bowl; reserve; place remaining vegetables in a processor; pulse until vegetables are finely chopped (it should not be a smooth sauce); stir into reserved vegetables; season; cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate until cold.


  • 2 cups canola oil
  • 1 sm. russet potato, peeled and cut into matchstick-size pieces
  • kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsps. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 Spanish onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsps. garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. achiote paste
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa
  • 2 ears white sweet corn, kernels cut from cobs
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsps. flat-leaf parsley, minced
  • 2 Tbsps. chives, minced
  • 1/4 lb. smoked bacon, cut into strips, cooked until crisp, and drained
  • avocado, sliced (for garnishing)
  1. Heat canola oil in Dutch oven set over medium heat until deep-fry thermometer registers 375°F.

  2. Fry potatoes, working in batches, turning, until brown and very crispy on all sides (1 to 2 minutes per batch); remove with a spider; place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper to drain; cool; season; reserve.

  3. Heat butter and olive oil in a stockpot set over medium heat; add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent (about 10 minutes); stir in achiote paste; cook 5 minutes; stir in quinoa and corn; cook, stirring frequently, until grain is lightly toasted (about 5 minutes); add stock and cream; bring to a boil; decrease heat to medium-low; simmer uncovered until quinoa is very tender and liquid is reduced by 1/4, about 45 minutes.

  4. To serve, stir in reserved potatoes, parsley, chives, and bacon; divide among serving bowls; garnish with avocado slices; serve ají costeño alongside.

Chef’s Note: When fresh corn is not available, 1 cup frozen corn, thawed and drained, can be substituted.