Warming Soups with Chef Jeanne Rafetto-Tentis

RED LENTIL SOUP with COCONUT MILK                                Makes 8 servings
 
2 medium onions, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 t fresh or dried thyme
½ t ground turmeric
2 T unsalted butter
2 c red, pink or yellow lentils, picked and rinsed
6 c stock (chicken or vegetable)
¼ t saffron threads, soaked in 2 T of warm water for 15 minutes (optional but recommended)
1 ¾ c coconut milk or 1 ½ c plain yogurt
Sea salt
 
Moghul Garam Masala
¼ c ghee or clarified butter
¾ t ground cardamom
¼ t ground cinnamon
¼ t ground cloves
¼ t freshly ground pepper
1/8 t freshly grated nutmeg
 
In a 4 quart pot over medium heat, cook the onion, garlic, thyme, and turmeric in the butter until onions soften and turn translucent, about 10 minutes.
 
Add the lentils and stock and bring to a boil.  Cover the pot and turn the heat to low, enough to keep the liquid to a slow simmer.  Cook until the lentils are very soft, about 30 minutes.
 
Puree with a blender or food processor or push through a fine or medium strainer.  Stir in the saffron with its soaking liquid.
 
Make the Spice mixture (Moghul Garam Masala) by melting the ghee in a 1 quart saucepan and stirring in the spices.  Continue to stir over medium heat until you can smell the ingredients.  Whisk the mixture into the soup.
 
Whisk the coconut milk or yogurt into the hot soup just before serving.  Bring soup back to a simmer. 
 
NOTE:  Coconut milk gives the soup a richness and wonderful delicate sweetness.  Yogurt makes the soup lighter and tangier.  The choice is yours.
 
 
 
 
 
 
WEST AFRICAN SPICY PEANUT STEW w/ CHICKEN                       
4 Main Course Servings
 
 
 
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into ¾-1 inch cubes
1 T hot sauce (I like Trader Joe’s jalapeno hot sauce)
4 c chicken broth
1/3 c creamy peanut butter (do not use natural or old fashioned as it will separate)
2 T tomato paste
5 T butter
1 ½ c onion, chopped
2 medium zucchini, trimmed and cut into ½ inch cubes
2 T all-purpose flour
1 c drained canned diced tomatoes in juice
 
Combine chicken and hot sauce in medium bowl and toss to coat well.  Season generously with salt and pepper and toss again.
 
Whisk chicken broth, peanut butter and tomato paste in a medium bowl until well blended.
 
Melt butter in a large pot over medium high heat.  Add chopped onion and zucchini, sauté until tender, about 8 minutes.  Add chicken and sauté until no longer pink on the outside, about 3 minutes.  Sprinkle with flour and cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
 
Add broth mixture and tomatoes to pot.  Simmer until chicken is cooked through and flavors blend, about 5 minutes.
 
Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.  Serve.
 
 
NOTE:  Soup can be made a day ahead and reheated.  I think it is even better the next day as the flavors have a chance to marry.
 
 
SHRIMP ETOUFFEE                                                                       Serves 6
 
“New Orleans food is as delicious as the less criminal forms of sin.”
                                                                                    Mark Twain 1884
 
12 T butter
2 T flour
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped
2 ribs celery, trimmed and finely chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
Pinch cayenne
Few dashes Tabasco sauce
Few dashes Worcestershire sauce
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-2 c water as needed
1 lb. package peeled, cleaned shrimp (can also add 1 lb of crawfish tail meat)
1 lemon halved
2-3 scallion greens, chopped
4 sprigs parsley, minced
 
Make a roux by melting butter over medium-low heat in a large heavy bottom skillet.  Add flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon until lightly golden, about 5-10 minutes.  Be careful not to burn the roux as this will result in a bitter taste.
 
Add onion, peppers, celery and cook stirring and scraping bottom of skillet frequently, until onions are soft, about 5 minutes.
 
Add garlic, cayenne, Tabasco and Worcestershire.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
 
Add 1c water and continue cooking until vegetables are very soft, about 25 minutes.  Mixture will become thick as it cooks.  Add additional water as needed to prevent mixture becoming too thick.
 
Add shrimp to skillet and cook, stirring until just heated through, 2-3 minutes.  Adjust seasonings.
 
Transfer to a serving platter and squeeze a little lemon juice over etouffee.  Garnish with scallions and parsley.
 
Serve hot over steamed rice.
 
Note:  Etouffee means “smothered” in Creole French.  Smothering, or stewing, is a way both Creoles and Cajuns give intense flavor to just about anything, including crawfish, shrimp and chicken.

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3 thoughts on “Warming Soups with Chef Jeanne Rafetto-Tentis

  1. This class was so much fun and the Lentil soup recipe is AMAZING. FYI, I couldn’t find red lentils at my local store (which turned a lovely golden color when cooked) and instead used yellow lentils and they turned into an unappealing green color. The soup still tasted fabulous though, so that was great, it just didn’t look very appetizing. My almost 2 year old could have eaten the entire pot if I didn’t think it would have given him a tummy ache later. So good!

  2. They have red lentils at The Grainery, which is next door to Bekah Kate’s, but they are a little bit pricey when compared with green lentils. You are not the only one who really loved this soup though, so I think it might be worth it! Glad you enjoyed the class!

  3. Perfect! I picked some up there yesterday and whipped it up last night. Wow, what a difference the right color of bean makes! Thanks again!

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