Sopa de Quinoa
This simple recipe from the grandmother of Zuleta chef Jose Maria Pumisacho shines due to the quality of its dairy ingredients: cream and milk just hours out of the dairy, freshly churned butter, eggs harvested daily from pastured chickens, and whatever cheese Pumisacho has on hand. In the absence of your own dairy cow, buy the best quality ingredients you can afford, including cage-free eggs from your local farmers' market. The result is a rich, flavorful soup that nourishes both soul and body, thanks to quinoa's remarkable nutritional benefits (including all eight essential amino acids). Pumisacho serves this dish garnished with homemade potato chips.
Bring a stockpot of water to a boil. Add the quinoa, lower heat to a simmer, and cook, covered, for approximately 60 to 90 minutes, stirring occasionally, until grains are soft.
While quinoa is cooking, heat butter in an 8-inch frying pan over medium heat. When butter is melted, add onions and cook until transparent.
When quinoa is ready, add the onions and half of the milk and bring to a boil for five minutes, then reduce heat and let simmer. While the quinoa mixture is simmering, process egg yolks, the remaining milk, cream, and cheese in a blender for one minute. Stir this mixture to the soup immediately before serving, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
Cheats: Cook the quinoa up to a day ahead, reserving the cooking liquid separately. When preparing the final dish, heat and incorporate the quinoa cooking liquid in small amounts with the rest of the ingredients that go into the blender. Or, freeze the quinoa and its cooking liquid in an airtight container for up to three months.