Quinoa, the good seed.Gather Journal Peruvian Quinoa Stew
The Iron Age was named for the titular invention that marked the advent of mass production. Because quinoa, one of the oldest cultivated crops and what the Incans call “mother grain,” is extremely iron-rich, we made it the star of our hearty, soul-soothing stew (a Peruvian chupe de quinoa derived from a recipe we tasted at the Inkaterra Macchu Picchu Pueblo Hotel). Prepare it in a cast iron pot for an ideal welding of flavor and Pachamama will surely approve.
Rinse quinoa under running water in a sieve. Drain well, then transfer to a medium saucepan along with 2 ⅔ cups water. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook over medium-low heat, 12 to 15 minutes, until quinoa is cooked and liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
Cook onion, garlic, and pepper paste in oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until onion is softened, about 8 minutes. Add broth and bring to a simmer. Stir in carrots, potatoes, and ½ tsp salt. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in quinoa, check seasoning, and keep warm. Wipe out the medium saucepan to cook the eggs.
Fill the saucepan with 3 to 4 inches of water and bring to a gentle simmer. Add vinegar. Crack an egg into a small cup. Using a slotted spoon, gently swirl the simmering water and slide the egg in giving it a gentle tumble with the spoon to encase itself in egg white. Repeat with remaining eggs. Keep the water at a mellow simmer and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, just until the whites have set but the yolk remains soft and runny. Divide soup into bowls and serve with mint, poached egg, and cheese if using.