Simple Gourmet Soups and Salads

Marcus Samuelsson is a serious chef with a talent for multi-tasking. He is author of the "New American Table," and in the next few months is opening a restaurant in New York's Harlem, called Red Rooster, that will be chock full of gourmet American cuisine.

"Early Show" Recipes Galore

On "The Early Show," Samuelsson showed how you can make some gourmet dishes in your kitchen with some surprisingly simple twists on traditional soups and salads.

Lentil Soup with Pork And Lamb Meatballs
Courtesy of Marcus Samuelsson's "New American Table," Wiley 2009

4 to 6 servings

Lentils, one of the first crops to be domesticated by humans, are used all over the world. High in protein and vitamins, their earthy flavor pairs nicely with the bright, appealing flavors found in traditional Greek cooking.

4 creamer potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 pound)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups dried lentils, soaked in cold water for 30 minutes
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped oregano
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
4 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons sour cream
Juice of 1 lemon
Pork and Lamb Meatballs
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Rinse the potatoes under cold water to remove the starch, about 5 minutes, or until the water runs clear. Pat dry.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, carrots, and lentils and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the red wine, oregano, bay leaf, cumin, and coriander and cook for another 1 minute. Add 6 cups water and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the potatoes and simmer until the lentils and potatoes are tender, another 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Remove the pan from the heat. Gently fold in the tomatoes, sour cream, lemon juice, and pork and lamb meatballs. Sprinkle with parsley and season with salt and pepper. Remove the bay leaf before serving.

Pork and Lamb Meatballs

Makes 16 to 20 meatballs

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon mild chili powder
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped mint
1/2 pound ground pork
1/4 pound ground lamb
1 large egg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the cumin, chili powder, garlic, and onion and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, oregano, and mint. Transfer to a bowl and combine with the ground pork, ground lamb, and egg. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Roll the meat mixture into balls, using about 1 heaping tablespoon of the mixture to make each ball. You will have about 16 to 20 meatballs.
3. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

4. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pan, sauté the meatballs until well browned, about 3 minutes on each side Transfer to a baking sheet and bake until cooked through, about 8 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain excess oil.

For more recipes, go to Page 2.

Corn Bread with Tomato Chutney
Courtesy of Marcus Samuelsson's "New American Table," Wiley 2009

Makes 2 loaves

My friend Marvin Woods taught me everything I know about low-country cooking, the regional cuisine commonly referred to as soul food. In many ways, soul food is an apt description because there is a lot of soul and spirit and passion that goes into low-country cooking, dishes like she-crab soup, catfish stew, shrimp and grits, red rice, hoppin' John, and baked macaroni and cheese. No low-country feast would be complete without corn bread.

My version is steamed in a water bath to make the bread nice and moist; covering it with aluminum foil for the last thirty minutes of cooking gives you a nice crust that isn't overly browned. Paired with tomato chutney, it's a light snack or meal on its own.

4 ears fresh corn, shucked
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup polenta
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon mild chili powder
14 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon black onion (nigella) seeds (see Tip)
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 poblano chiles, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
Butter to grease the pans
Tomato Chutney

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the corn and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain. When the ears are cool enough to handle, cut the kernels from the cobs. Place 1 cup of the corn kernels in a bowl and set aside. Place the remaining kernels in a blender and puree. Set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, polenta, baking powder, salt, pepper, chili powder, ginger, cardamom, and black onion seeds. Stir in the brown sugar, chiles, corn kernels, corn puree, and 2 cups water. Mix to combine.

4. Butter two 8 1/2 × 4 1/2-inch loaf pans and divide the batter evenly between them. Let rest for 20 minutes.

5. Place the pans in a shallow baking dish filled halfway with water and place in the oven. Bake for 1 hour. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for another 30 minutes.

6. Turn the loaves out onto a cooling rack and let cool. Serve with the tomato chutney.

Tip: Traditionally found in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking, black onion seeds are making their way into mainstream cooking. They add a sharp, peppery flavor that I really like. Look for them in Middle Eastern and Indian markets or order them online.

Tomato Chutney

1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
One 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
4 fresh tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 cup canned stewed tomatoes
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons dark raisins
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon mint, chopped
1 tablespoon basil leaves, chopped
Juice of 2 limes
1 jalapeño chile, seeds and ribs removed, chopped

1. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, ginger, shallots, chili powder, curry powder, coriander, cardamom, and cinnamon stick and cook until golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the honey and brown sugar and cook until caramelized, 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Stir in the fresh tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 40 minutes. Remove and discard cinnamon stick.

3. Remove from the heat and stir in the raisins, cilantro, mint, basil, lime juice, and jalapeño.

Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese Vinaigrette
Courtesy of Marcus Samuelsson's "New American Table," Wiley 2009

4 servings

2 Yukon Gold potatoes, thinly sliced
2 purple or Yukon Gold potatoes, thinly sliced
3 cups grape seed oil
Salt
1 teaspoon mild chili powder
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons goat cheese
Freshly ground pepper
2 heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 tomatillos, thinly sliced
1 cup arugula
2 cups baby spinach
2 basil leaves, torn

1. Rinse the potatoes under cold water until the water runs clear. Pat dry.

2. Heat the grape seed oil in a deep pot to 350°F. Working in batches to not overcrowd the pot, add the potatoes and fry until golden, about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain excess oil. Season with salt and chili powder.

3. To make the vinaigrette, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a blender with the lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, goat cheese and remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Arrange the tomatoes and tomatillos in a single layer on a platter and drizzle with half of the vinaigrette.

5. Toss the arugula, spinach and basil in a large bowl with the remaining vinaigrette. Add the potato chips and toss to combine. Mound over the tomatoes and tomatillos. Season with salt and pepper.