, Newburyport, MA

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January 2, 2013

Comfort in a cup

Hardy soups take off winter's chill


2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Pinch of ground nutmeg

3 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced

1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro

To prepare the yucca, cut off the ends of the yucca root and make 3 to 4 vertical cuts from top to bottom with a paring knife. Peel the two layers of the vegetable: the brown skin and the inner white layer. Cut the yucca in half lengthwise and remove the center woody fiber with a paring knife. Cut the white flesh into 1-inch chunks.

Transfer the yucca to a medium saucepan, cover with fresh cold water by at least an inch, and add a good pinch of salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Drain the yucca and, while still hot, pass through a food mill or ricer.

Place the dende oil, onion, peppers, scallions and celery in a large sauté pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and translucent, about 3minutes.

Add the garlic and stir until it gets hot. Add the white wine and reduce by half, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the shrimp stock and coconut milk, then bring the mixture to a boil.

Reduce the heat to low and add 1/2 cup of the mashed yucca and the tomato paste and use a whisk to help dissolve them both into the sauce. The sauce will start to thicken naturally; add up to another 1/2 cup of the mashed yucca if necessary. Set aside.

Season the shrimp with salt and pepper on both sides. In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shrimp and cook until they just start to turn orange, about 1 minute each side.

Transfer the shrimp to the saucepan. Pour in any shrimp juices that stayed in the skillet and braise the shrimp stew over very low heat, covered, for 5minutes. Taste the stew and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Garnish with the tomatoes and cilantro.

This recipe is from “The Brazilian Kitchen: 100 Classic and Contemporary Recipes for the Home Cook,” by Leticia Moreinos Schwartz (Kyle Books, $19.95).

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