Winter Soups and Stews with Chef Jeanne Rafetto-Tentis



VIETNAMESE CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP                                 Makes 6 servings

Recipe adapted from “Around My French Table”

Stems from one bunch of cilantro

2 points star anise

1t coriander seeds

1t white peppercorns

1 small onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced

2 dried red chilis

6c chicken stock

1 can (14 oz) unsweetened coconut milk

¼ c Asian fish sauce (such as nuoc mam), or to taste

1t brown sugar


1lb chicken breasts with skin and bone or about ¾ lb skinless, boneless

5oz Chinese egg noodles or rice vermicelli

4-6T fresh lime juice, or to taste

¼ c  fresh cilantro

Optional Garnishes:

Fresh basil, preferably Thai basil if you can find it

Fresh mint leaves

Lime wedges

Bean sprouts

Hoisin sauce

Asian chili oil

Put the cilantro stems, star anise, coriander, and white peppercorns in a square of cheesecloth and tie with kitchen twine.  Toss packet in a soup pot and add onion, garlic, ginger and chilis.  Pour in chicken stock and coconut milk, Season with 2T of the fish sauce, the brown sugar, and a pinch of salt.  Bring to a low boil. (don’t be afraid if it separates a bit as this natural and it will come together when you stir it).

Lower the heat and add the chicken.  Cover the pot and poach the chicken gently for about 15-20 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl to cool enough to cool enough to handle.  Turn off heat the broth but keep it covered.  Note:  Soup can be made ahead through this step, if desired. 

While the chicken is cooling, cook the noodles according to package directions.  Drain well and rinse with cold water and drain well.

Shred the chicken, discarding the skin and bones.  Bring soup back to low boil and add the chicken and noodles.  When everything is hot, Season with additional fish sauce and lime juice to taste.  Stir in the cilantro and add more salt if you think it is needed.

Serve with garnishes of your choice.

FRENCH LENTIL SOUP w/ SPANISH CHORIZO SOUP                      6 Servings

Recipe by Jeanne Raffetto Tentis



1c du Puy lentils (French green lentils)

1 carrot chopped

1 onion sliced

1 bay leaf

2 fresh thyme sprigs

4c chicken stock

2-3 cloves garlic crushed

Pinch of cayenne pepper, or to taste

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Fresh lemon juice, enough to squirt on top

3T extra virgin olive oil

1 small Spanish chorizo sausage, thinly sliced

Soak the lentils in cold water for 2 hrs.  Drain the lentil and place them in a soup pot with the carrot, onion, bay leaf, thyme sprigs, garlic and stock.  Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until very tender, about 45 minutes.  Discard the herbs and allow to cool a bit.  Puree in a blender or food processor, in batches, if necessary, until smooth.

For a very smooth soup you can strain mixture, but this is optional.  Season with salt, ground pepper and cayenne pepper to taste.  Reheat gently and add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice before serving.

Heat the olive oil in a small fry pan and sauté the chorizo slices until lightly browned, about 30 seconds.  Turn and fry another 15 seconds.

Serve the soup with the rounds of chorizo on top and with some of the bright orange oil drizzled around.

THEON’S CREAMY PISTACHIO BISQUE                                             Makes 6 ½ c


1 ½ c shelled pistachios (3/4 c for soup, remaining for garnish)

1 small onion, chopped

½ c celery, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced (or to taste)

¼ c unsalted butter

2 T dry sherry

6 c stock (chicken or vegetable)

¼ c long grain rice

2 sprigs Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped

1 c whipping cream

Whole chives for garnish

Shell pistachios and rub off skins or buy shelled pistachios.

Sauté onion, celery and garlic in the butter until limp.  Add sherry, ¾ c of the pistachios, stock, rice, parsley and bay leaf.  Bring to boil, reduce heat and cover.  Slow simmer until rice is tender (about 20-25 minutes).  Discard bay leaf.

Puree and pour through strainer.  Return to pot and add cream.  Stir over medium heat 5-7 minutes.  Do not allow to boil as cream will separate.

Serve immediately with remaining pistachios and chives as garnish.

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