Sunday, March 10, 2013

Indian Split Pea Soup with Seared Shrimp and Tomato Relish

The soup-themed dinners continued at Singer’s house on Wednesday night.  She served the most delicious dish that I’m not sure can justifiably be called a soup…more like a meal in one dish.  Different from a casserole or a stoup (a Rachel Ray favorite) this satisfying one-dish meal recipe is from the Dean & DeLuca Cookbook, page 80. 

When older daughter was a little girl, we used to live in Manayunk, a trendy little neighborhood in the northwest section of Philadelphia.  I used to love to put her in the “umbroller” and stroll down to Main Street.  Older daughter was a very cute and very gregarious child and she would often say hi to people and she (somehow) developed the talent for saying hello to cute guys (I swear I was not behind the stroller encouraging the salutation). Anway, there was a little coffee shop on Main Street, La Petite Gourmet, and I remember sitting at the café tables with her on my lap, sipping a latte, nibbling on a muffin and taking in the sights, tastes and sounds of my new hood. 

I assure you that this story is connected to the recipe.

Later, when younger daughter was a baby (we still lived in Manayunk for a short time, although in another house) and the charming little coffee shop was replaced by a Dean & Deluca.  The new proprietors retained the painted tin ceilings but the simple, tasty menu was replaced by fancy salads, sandwiches topped various and spicy chutneys and French pastries, all too elaborate for the eight-year-old palate (if food wasn’t some hue of “pale” older daughter was not the least bit interested). We still enjoyed our little pastry promenades down the hill – the walk neutralized the calories in the lattes – but the mood and food were merely substitutes for the warm and inviting atmosphere of the original coffee shop. 

Fast forward many years…Singer was browsing around a thrift shop and found a second-hand Dean & DeLuca cookbook …good thing, because she was able to make this delicious concoction of split peas, Indian spices and seared shrimp…so incredibly good.  The base for this soup is dal, a thick Indian stew prepared from puréed split peas, lentils or beans.   Dal is typically served along side of a main dish but this recipe takes dal out of a supporting role and makes it the star of the show. 

Indian Split Pea Soup with Seared Shrimp and Fresh Tomato Relish
From:  The Dean & DeLuca Cookbook

For the spicy shrimp
12 large shrimp, shelled
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom seed
1/4 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground clove
1/8 teaspoon salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons light vegetable oil, such as safflower

For the soup
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup finely minced onion (about 2 medium onions)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon finely minced jalapeno (adjust to desired heat)
2 cups yellow split peas, washed
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1 teaspoon ground cumin seed
1 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
2 quarts chicken stock plus additional if necessary

For the relish
1 cup finely diced fresh tomato
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup minced cilantro leaves plus additional for garnish
1/2 teaspoon minced jalapeno
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1. Make the spicy shrimp: In a bowl toss the shrimp with the cumin, cardamom, garlic, coriander, cinnamon, clove, salt, and cayenne pepper. Marinate, refrigerated, for 1 hour.

2. Make the soup: In a heavy-bottomed pot, melt the butter over moderate heat. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, and jalapeno. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the split peas, coriander, cumin, celery seed, cinnamon, and clove. Stir to mix well. Add the chicken stock, stir again, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer slowly, partially covered, for about 1 hour, or until split peas are just soft. (You may need to add additional chicken stock if peas become too thick and dry.)

3. While soup is simmering, make the relish: Toss all ingredients together in a bowl. Season to taste.

4. When soup is ready, butterfly the marinated shrimp, removing the veins. Place a heavy sauté pan over moderately high heat. Add the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, swirling around the pan. Add the shrimp, cut side down, and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, or until just cooked. Turn the shrimp over, and cook for 1 minute. Remove shrimp from pan.

5. With a wooden spoon, crush a few of the soft peas in the soup against the side of the pot. Stir well. (If the soup is too thick, add a little chicken stock.) Season to taste. Ladle the hot soup into 4 wide soup bowls. Mix in most of the tomato relish, reserving about 1/4 cup. Place 3 shrimp in the center of each bowl. Divide the reserved tomato relish among the bowls, placing it in the center of the shrimp. Top that with a few fresh cilantro leaves. Serve immediately.

Serve as a main course with steamed Middle Eastern bread and a cucumber raita.

For dessert, we had a delicious blondie from a recipe from smitten kitchen.  I love the photos on this site....I will have to take note! Foodie adapted the recipe to include browned butter, bourbon, and carmelized pecans.  Then, she roasted some sliced blood oranges and blueberries and placed them on top.    We almost polished off two bottles of wine.  What a life.


Anonymous said...

Looks amazing. Andrea E.

KnitOne, PearlOnion said...

So good, Andrea. Hope all is well! -- Joann