Curried Two-Pea Soup with Toasted Garlic and Crème Fraîche

Split green and yellow peas are simmered in vegetable stock with Madras curry and fried onions, then topped with crunchy toasted garlic, Maldon sea salt flakes and a dollop of crème fraîche..

Curried Two-Pea Soup with Toasted Garlic and Crème Fraîche

For the Crème Fraîche

6 oz fresh heavy cream
2 oz cultured buttermilk

Gently heat heavy cream to 105 degrees (use a thermometer), then remove from heat and stir in buttermilk.  Transfer to a glass jar, cover with a napkin and allow to stand at room temperature until thick, about 24-36 hours.  Transfer to the refrigerator and age for 24 hours.  Use within 7-10 days.

For the Toasted Garlic

1 head garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
1 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt

Heat olive oil to 325 degrees (use a thermometer) in a heavy pan over medium heat. Shallow-fry whole garlic cloves, turning frequently, until light golden brown.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the garlic to a napkin to drain.  Sprinkle with sea salt while still hot.  Transfer garlic to a food dehydrator and allow to thoroughly dry.  Store in an airtight container up to 6 months.


For the Vegetable Stock (recipe from Gourmet magazine)

1/2 lb portabella mushrooms, caps and stems cut into 1-inch pieces
1 lb shallots, left unpeeled, quartered
1 lb carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs (including stems)
5 fresh thyme sprigs
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
2 bay leaves (not California)
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
2 qt water

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Toss together mushrooms, shallots, carrots, bell peppers, parsley and thyme sprigs, garlic, and oil in a large flameproof roasting pan. Roast in middle of oven, turning occasionally, until vegetables are golden, 30 to 40 minutes.

Transfer vegetables with slotted spoon to a tall narrow 6-quart stockpot. Set roasting pan across 2 burners, then add wine and deglaze pan by boiling over moderate heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, 2 minutes. Transfer to stockpot and add bay leaves, tomatoes, and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 45 minutes. Pour through a large fine sieve into a large bowl, pressing on and discarding solids, then season with salt and pepper. Skim off fat.  Use within 1 week or freeze up to 3 months.

For the Soup (adapted from a recipe by Alton Brown)

1/3 cup split yellow peas, rinsed and picked over
1/3 cup split green peas, rinsed and picked over
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 cups vegetable stock
1 teaspoon Madras curry powder
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
toasted garlic
crème fraîche
Maldon sea salt flakes

Heat butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add onions and cook until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes.  Add curry powder, stir and cook 1 minute.  Add peas, vegetable stock and bay leaf and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer until peas are tender, about 1 hour.

Use an immersion blender to partially purée the soup, then stir in chopped parsley and season to taste with black pepper.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls and dress with a dollop of crème fraîche, crushed toasted garlic and sea salt flakes.

This post is in support of Meatless Monday, whose goal it is to goal is to help reduce
meat consumption by 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.

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Lamb Vindaloo with Cardamom Pea Puree

Lamb is slow-simmered in coconut milk, onions, garlic and coarse mustard, then topped with curry-fried onions and served with puréed peas with cardamom.  A classic Goan dish..

Lamb Vindaloo

Lamb Vindaloo with Cardamom Pea Puree

For the Vindaloo

1 1/2 pounds boneless lamb (I’m using leftover roast leg of lamb)
1 yellow onion, quartered and thinly sliced
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ghee
1 teaspoon cracked coriander seeds
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon freshly-grated ginger
1 teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons coarse mustard
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
1-2 fresh hot chiles, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups thick coconut milk

Combine the vinegar, mustard and spices in a bowl.  Stir into a thick paste.

Fry the onions in ghee until golden brown, then add the garlic and ginger and sauté 30 seconds.  Add the spice paste and fry for 1 minute, stirring continuously.  Add the lamb and fry for 3 minutes.

Reduce heat to low, stir in coconut milk, cover and simmer until tender, about 75 minutes.  Stir occasionally and add a little water if needed.

For The Peas

12 oz fresh English peas
1 tablespoon pastured butter
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground green cardamom
1 cup filtered water or stock, approximately
1 tablespoon curly parsely
salt and pepper

Boil the peas in 1/4 inch of water with butter and cardamom until just tender, about 2 minutes.  Transfer to a food processor , add parsley and pulse until nearly smooth.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the Curry-Fried Onions

1/4 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon ghee
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
sprigs of fresh parsley

Heat ghee over medium heat until shimmering, then add onions and curry powder and fry until crisp.  Add parsley and fry a few seconds more.  Season with a little salt and let drain on a napkin for a few moments.

To Serve

Spoon pea purée onto a serving plate and ladle vindaloo over the top.  Garnish with curry-fried onions and parsley and serve immediately.

Vegetarian Black Bean Chili

Simmered black beans with red and white quinoa, toasted cumin, onions, tomatoes, New Mexico and poblano chiles, garlic, oregano and wedges of avocado, all served up in baked corn tortilla shells..

Black Bean Chili

Vegetarian Black Bean Chili

Soak dried black beans and quinoa in filtered water overnight.  Drain, rinse and cook in vegetable stock until just done.

Sauté cumin seeds, chopped chiles, garlic and onions in a heavy skillet over medium heat until browned and fragrant.  Add chopped tomatoes and poblano peppers and cook 5 minutes.

Add garlic, Mexican oregano, 1/4 teaspoon each cloves, allspice and cinnamon, cooked beans and quinoa and simmer 20 minutes; keep moist by adding bean-cooking liquid as needed.  Adjust seasoning with sea salt and freshly-ground pepper.

Meanwhile, lightly coat small corn tortillas with oil and press into the wells of a jumbo muffin pan.  Bake at 400 degrees until crisp and browned.

To serve, spoon chili into tortillas shells and garnish with avocado wedges, a squeeze of fresh lime and hot sauce.


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Deep Chili

Nobody knows for sure exactly when and where chili con carne was first made, but we can generally agree that the original recipes read something like this..

“Cut up as much meat as you think you will need (any kind will do, but beef is probably best) in pieces about the size of a pecan. Put it in a pot, along with some suet (enough so as the meat won’t stick to the sides of the pot), and cook it with about the same amount of wild onions, garlic, oregano, and chiles as you have got meat. Put in some salt. Stir it from time to time and cook it until the meat is as tender as you think it’s going to get.”  –Texas, early 1800s

With deep, dark beef and chile flavors, this is an intensely flavored dish.

Deep Chili

Deep Chili

Smoke onions, garlic, jalapeños and a plum tomato over mesquite for 30 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, roast a variety of chiles such as Guajillo, ancho, arbol and New Mexico in a slow oven for an hour.

Pull the stems from the peppers and shake out the seeds.  Transfer to a food processor and chop into a fine powder.  Add the roasted onion, garlic, jalapeños and a tablespoon of cider vinegar and blend into a paste.

Brown a couple of pieces of pork belly in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  Add small chunks of grass-fed beef chuck or bison and sear until seriously browned.

Add 1/2 cup of the chili paste and just enough water to cover the meat.

Add toasted cumin seed, Mexican oregano, a little sea salt, a few shards of true cinnamon and 3-4 whole cloves.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 1 1/2 hours, adding the chopped, smoked tomato during the last half hour.

Add 1 ounce of Mexican chocolate and stir until melted.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary.

Serve with beans, cornbread or tortillas on the side if you like.


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Crawfish Etouffee

Étouffée is a Cajun/Creole dish of crawfish, crab or shrimp smothered in a roux-thickened sauce of celery, onions and bell peppers with garlic, spices and a little sherry.  In New Orleans, étouffée is commonly served with jasmine or basmati rice..

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Crawfish Étouffée

(recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse and others)

Serves 2

1/2 stick unsalted, pastured butter
1 tablespoon organic, all-purpose flour
1/3 cup chopped yellow onions
1/3 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup chopped bell peppers
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/3 cup diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
1 sprig fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 1/2 cups shrimp stock* (shrimp shells, water, celery, onion, bay, thyme, lemon)
12 oz crawfish tails
1 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Melt the butter in a heavy skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat until it begins to brown.  Add flour and whisk to combine.  Continue to cook and stir continuously until the roux takes on a dark, brown-red color.

Add the celery, onions and bell peppers (called the holy trinity of Cajun cooking) and cook for 5 minutes.

Add garlic, green onions, tomatoes, Worcestershire, bay, thyme, cayenne and cracked pepper and stir to combine.

Add shrimp stock (or water), sherry and crawfish tails, bring to a boil then reduce to low heat and simmer 10 minutes.

Add fresh lemon juice and chopped parsley, taste for salt and adjust accordingly.

Serve over rice and garnish with lemon wedges and very finely minced green onion, bell pepper, celery and parsley.  Offer Louisiana hot sauce.

* Mineral-rich shrimp is high in healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, Vitamin B12 and niacin.  Use some of the shrimp stock to cook the rice; it helps to make it more digestible.

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