I decided to start the year off right with making some hearty home cooked meals. Food Network Magazine is by far one of my favorite sources for recipes. After all, its a compilation of recipes and ideas from all my favorite Food Network stars. The first issue this year features Trisha Yearwood's Quinoa Corn Chowder. It turned out to be relatively easy to make and not so bad to clean up after, either. The flavors are delicious, filling, and blend for a perfect mix of sweet and savory. Link to recipe direct at Food Network HERE or see below (with slight alterations from me).
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons salted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped (I used a medium-large size onion)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup Quinoa
2 cups frozen whole-kennel corn, thawed
5 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 bag baby Yukon potatoes, about 2 pounds, cut into 4-6 pieces each
2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
8 slices of bacon, cooked and broken up into bits + more for garnish
3/4-1 pound medium shrimp peeled and deveined (I used frozen, cooked shrimp and thawed before adding to chowder)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped, additional sprigs for garnish
3 scallions chopped finely
Prep by baking bacon on cookie sheet at 375 degrees F until crispy. Remove from oven and let cool on plate layered with paper towels. Set aside until grease has dried off, then crumple into bacon bit pieces. Set aside a few additional bacon slices for garnish. Thaw frozen corn and shrimp (if frozen). Chop onions and garlic. Rinse potatoes and quarter or chop into 4-6 pieces each.
Heat large stockpot on medium heat, about 2 minutes. Add chopped onion and garlic. Saute until tender about 7 minutes. Add quinoa and corn, saute for another 3 minutes. Add stock, heavy cream, potatoes and Old Bay. Increase heat to high and bring mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, incovered, until the quinoa and potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Add shrimp to chowder and cook until they are pink and opaque, 2-3 minutes. Add parsley, scallions, and bacon bits just before serving. Be sure to include a 1/2 bacon slice and sprig of parsley for garnish. Enjoy!