Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Comfort Me with Lentils

Both of my homelands are in the news the east, Massachusetts has elected a Republican (gasp!) to fill the beloved Ted Kennedy's seat in the senate. And in California, we are being deluged with rain, which seems, as I look out the window this very moment, a bit of an understatement if that is possible.

In either case, we are in need for some serious comforting. And this humble lentil stew certainly does the trick, especially when topped with freshly made goat cheese. Lentils are a bit of a workhorse when it comes to legumes. They are small and therefore cook relatively quickly, and they readily assume any herbs and spices with which they are cooked. This stew (or soup depending on how much broth you add), is heady with curry and loaded with chunky carrots and potatoes. It's 100% vegetarian, but if you like sausage, it would be a very good addition, I think.

I made this simple stew for lunch yesterday, and there is so much we could eat it all week if we wanted too. But I froze half to save for another rainy day, should we be so blessed to have one....goodness knows, we need all the rain we can get. Oh, and you might have noticed that I mentioned freshly made goat cheese. I made that today, and with any luck, I'll have time to share the recipe with you tomorrow. It's divine...

Curried Lentil Stew

This hearty stew has stick-to-your-ribs goodness in every bite. Though this version is vegetarian, chunks of cooked, spicy Italian sausage would make a very nice addition if you are so inclined.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
Yield: serves 6


2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 stalks of celery, sliced
4 medium carrots, halved length-wise and sliced
1 cup of cubed baby potatoes (fingerling or new potatoes)
2 tablespoons of good-quality curry powder
1 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes
1 quart of vegetable stock
2 cups of dried green lentils
salt and pepper to taste


1. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrots and potatoes and cook for five minutes or until the vegetables begin to get tender.

2. Add curry powder and cook for two minutes more, or until fragrant. Stir in tomatoes, and stock and bring to a boil.

3. Add lentils, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until lentils are tender. Check in periodically and add more stock if necessary.

4. Taste for seasoning, and ladle into a bowl. Top with crumbled goat cheese if desired. It is also great over brown rice or quinoa or you could serve it with a rustic loaf of bread to sop up all the delicious broth.


Elspeth said...

This looks very, very good. I wonder if you can fedex bowls of soup?

Alison said...

Ha! I'll send you some soup in exchange for some blueberries....or that blueberry cake! lol!