Lentil Stew

I love meat.  I do!  With every carnivorous fiber of my being.  As such, I’m finding it interesting that the last three blog entries and this one are completely meat-free!  I suppose that’s good, unless you want to end up like John Wayne.  Yeah, I won’t go into that little tidbit of information that Bikenut is always so eager to share whenever a big ol’ steak passes by.

At any rate, I was watching the Cooking channel the other day and Julia Child was preparing lentils.  Since then, I’d been eager to try and cook some up myself.  I can’t for the life of me recall what Julia made, but it wasn’t the recipes so much as the ingredient that piqued my interest.  So, when I passed through the bulk aisle at Whole Foods and saw the bins of lentils, I decided to bring some home and give it a shot.

I saw quite a few recipes online for a basic lentil stew, but ultimately wound up adding things that weren’t included in the recipes — like potatoes, and brown mushrooms, and fresh basil.  I wanted these lentils to be so good that I wouldn’t even notice there wasn’t any meat on the plate, and I think I hit the mark!

Sauteed veggies and lentils, ready for the broth and a long simmer.

If I had it to do again, I think that I would soak the lentils for awhile.  Julia swore that we don’t have to do that anymore, but my experience didn’t seem to back that claim.  What was slated for one hour of cook time actually took a bit over three, and while the lentils were tender enough, they might have benefited from another hour longer on the simmer.  But, if you have all day to simmer a pot of lentils, by all means, go for it!  You won’t be disappointed in either case.

Lentil Stew

Ingredients:

  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 ribs of celery, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large russet potato, diced
  • 8 oz brown mushrooms, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups of lentils
  • 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 4 cups of water

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, add first 11 ingredients.  Stir to coat.  Saute over medium-high heat until onions are soft.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and stir.  Bring to boil, then reduce heat, cover and cook until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Serve with basmati rice and warm garlic naan.
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