Wok like an Egyptian

Madonna’s Super Bowl performance this past Sunday sent the Supper Model into inspiration-overdrive!

The Cleopatra-inspired entrance courtesy of Givenchy was enough shock, surprise, and splendor to thrill any halftime critic.

And although TSM doesn’t have Givenchy on call for our every food-styling need, we wanted to create a mesopotamian meal of our own that would feel just as in Vogue… So to celebrate the start of New York Fashion Week here’s a taste of a red-hot, silky, and sub-Saharan soup tainted with love….

Egyptian Red Lentil and Pepper Soup

Serve with fluffy homemade corn bread, that once baked can be cut into heart shaped bites and toasted for a meal that is as figure sparing as it is hunger inspiring.

Egyptian Red Lentil and Pepper Soup
Serves 4-6

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 medium size yellow onion
2 celery sticks, peeled and finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 inch piece fresh ginger, finely sliced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
few sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf, bruised/crushed
2 vine tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
1 1/2 cup red lentils
1 small jar (10-12 oz) roasted red peppers, chopped and oil reserved
1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses

Sea salt
Fresh cracked black pepper
5 cups water
4 cups low sodium chicken broth

Garnish: thick Greek yogurt

1. In a large dutch oven or stock pot, melt the butter and begin sauteing the onions, celery, and carrots over medium high heat. Let sweat for 3-5 minutes until soften, then add the ginger and garlic and let cook for 1-2 minutes. Follow with all the ground spices and toast for 1 minutes or until fragrant. Then add the chopped tomato and let cook for another minute or two adding a pinch of salt. Add the lentils and toast stirring for another minute or two. Top with the bay leaf and thyme and season lightly before adding the water and chicken broth.

 2. When the liquid is all added, bring the soup to a rolling simmer, and cook on a low heat, lightly simmering for about 30 minutes until the lentils are cooked and vegetables soft. Remove the thyme and bay leaf, then, using a ladle and food processor, puree the soup in 2 batches, adding half of the chopped red peppers and oil to each batch.

3. When the soup is finely pureed, add all back into the stock pot and add the pomegranate molasses and season to taste, while over a low heat/flame.

If the soup is too thick, add a touch more chicken broth. Can be stored covered in the fridge for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 1 month. Otherwise, heat, serve and enjoy…

Fertile Crescent Cornbread
adapted from Giada de Laurentiis’ Scallion Cornbread Recipe
Serves 8

3-4 tablespoons melted butter, cooled
2 boxes Jiffy cornbread mix (8.5 oz)
1/2 cup finely sliced scallions (light green and white parts of 1 bunch)
1 and 1/3 cups grated mozzarella (not pre-grated)
3/4 tsp sea salt
fresh cracked pepper
1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons grated parmesan (not pre-grated)

1. Preheat oven to 400 F, positioning a rack in the center of the oven. Spray grease a round or square baking dish (either 9 inch circumference or 8 by 8 inch square). Line the tin with parchment paper, making sure that some overhangs, reserve.
2. Melt butter and let cool. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl just till combined with a spatula. Do not overmix.

3. Pour cornbread mix into the parchment prepared tin and bang down a bit on the counter to even out and settle. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown on the top. Let cool in the tin for 10-20 minutes and let fully cool on a wire rack. Store covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.

To make the cornbread hearts:
Slice the cooled cornbread in half width wise with a bread knife (as if you were slicing a cake in half to make two layers). 

Then using a hear shaped cookie cutter, cut out shapes and place cornbread shapes on an ungreased baking sheet. Toast in a 400 F oven for a few minutes until warm and golden brown.

Don’t go for second best baby, put this recipe to the test!  

Express Yourself
Darcy Jones

1 Comment

  1. debg
    February 10, 2012 / 4:36 pm

    Love the photos of your soup and cornbread:)

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