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Lemon Lentils with Curried Shrimp

1/4 c Plus 1 tbs corn oil
1 md Onion(s), sliced
1 lb Dried green or brown lentils picked over and washed
2 2" pieces cinnamon stick
1/2 ts Cayenne
3/4 ts Ginger, peeled and minced
Peel of 1 large lemon minced (about 2 tsp) 3 1/2 c Chicken stock
2 Bay leaves
1/2 sm Onion(s), minced
1 md Garlic clove(s), minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of 1 large lemon (about 1 tbs)
3 tb Cilantro, coarsely chopped

Shrimp Curry
1 1/2 lb Large shrimp (about 36)
2 c Water
5 Black peppercorns
1 sm Stalk celery
1 sm Bay leaf
Few drops white vinegar
Salt to taste
1/3 All-purpose flour
1/2 ts Cayenne
4 tb Butter
4 Thick scallions mince white and green parts separately
1 tb Curry powder
1/3 c Heavy cream
Juice of 1 lime (1 tbs)
Pepper to taste
3 tb Cilantro, coarsely chopped


In a 5-qt. Dutch oven, heat cup of the oil and add the sliced onions. Saut, stirring often, over medium heat until onions are wilted. Stir in lentils, cinnamon sticks, cayenne, ginger and lemon peel and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Add chicken stock and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a small skillet. Add minced onions, garlic, salt and pepper and saut, stirring occasionally, over low heat until the onions begin to brown slightly. Set aside.

After 15 minutes, when lentils are partly cooked, remove and discard cinnamon sticks and bay leaves. Stir in onion-garlic mixture and the lemon juice and continue to simmer for 10-15 minutes more or until lentils are tender and still maintain their shape. Add additional stock if lentils seem too dry. Stir in the cilantro. Set lentils aside while preparing shrimp or prepare lentils 1 day in advance and add a few tablespoons of water when reheating them before serving.

Shrimp Curry:

Peel shrimp and reserve shells. Place shrimp on a plate lined with a paper towel. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed. This can be done several hours ahead.

In a 2-qt. saucepan, add shrimp shells, water, peppercorns, celery, bay leaf and vinegar. Add salt to taste and bring to a boil, simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes. Strain into a measuring cup and set aside. In a plastic bag, mix the flour and cayenne. Take off 1 tbs and set aside. Place the shrimp in the bag and shake to coat evenly. shake the shrimp off to remove excess flour and place on a wire rack for 10 minutes to set the coating.

In a 12-inch skillet, heat butter until very hot. Add the shrimp in one layer and cook over high heat for 1 minute. Turn and saut for another minute. Transfer shrimp to a plate as they are cooked and set aside. The shrimp should be slightly undercooked.

Reduce heat to medium and in the same skillet add the white part of the scallions only, reserving the green tops, and saut, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the curry powder and the reserve tablespoon of cayenne-flour and stir. Add the reserved shrimp stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat, add the cream and simmer until bubbly. REturn shrimp to the skillet and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute, or until heated through. Add the lime and the green scallion tops and adjust the seasoning.

Spoon shrimp into the center of a large serving platter and surround them with the rewarmed lentils. Garnish with cilantro.

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