I was watching Bobby Flay the other night on "Throwdown" and he challenged a chef to a "Cioppino" throwdown. Cioppino, which means "little soup" or "chopped" is, as I understand it, an Italian seafood soup made from a variety of seafood. In the "old days" the fisherman would all pool their catch to make this dish. I had to try to make a version. Here in central Texas, I was limited to the type of seafood I could buy. Traditional Cioppino has wine, clams, lobster, fish etc. I had shrimp and calamari. The traditional version has tomato sauce but I used organic canned tomato bisque, and no wine. Then I threw in some lentils to make it heartier. And guess what-it was delicious!
Cioppino style soup with Lentils
2 Tbl. olive oil
2 Tbl. butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 carrots, chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 pound of raw, peeled shrimp
1 pound of calamari, cut into pieces
4 cups water
1 can organic tomato bisque soup (I used Amy's brand)
1/2 uncooked lentils
salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste
Saute onion, bell pepper and carrots in the olive oil and butter until soft. Add the shrimp and garlic. Cook until shrimp are lightly browned. Add the water and let simmer to make a stock. Add the calamari and tomato soup. Cook until calamari are done (about 3 minutes). Taste and adjust the seasonings. Add the lentils and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. I served mine with cornbread but Bobby Flay made toasted garlic, cheese croutons with his.
The stock made with onion, carrot, celery, bell pepper, butter, olive oil, garlic, and shrimp is a rich golden color.