Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mild Lentil Tomato Stew

It was Saturday, still in Vermont on vacation. Andy/Toly was planning a big, fancy non-vegan dinner for the group. So I needed a big, fancy vegan dinner for me and Jacqui. And lunch. It was morning, and I had to decide what to make for the rest of the day (morning meal was a delicious tofu scramble of tofu, tumeric, sweet potato, broccoli, onion, garlic, shallots, and olive oil).

Enter the red lentils, which Dave and Andy/Toly scored on Friday after searching several stores (who knew red lentils would be that hard to find in Vermont?). Enter the diced tomatoes I had bought earlier in the week (intended for a chili that was never made).

My stew might not have been big or fancy, but it was yummy, and brightly colored. Jacqui and I had it for lunch and again for dinner on Saturday. As with all the meals prepared in Stowe, I was limited in the spices that were available (what was at the house and what I had bought), so feel free to change them up if you make this stew yourself.

olive oil
2 cups (1 lb) red lentils (red lentils are really orange)
1 red onion, diced (red onions are really purple)
3 cloves garlic, diced (white garlic is really white)
4 large organic carrots, peeled and diced (carrots were orange this time around)
1 28-oz can organic diced fire roasted tomatoes (plus juices)
1 14-oz can organic garbanzos
ground cinnamon
ground tumeric
4 bay leaves
whole coriander
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

What to do
After dicing the onion, garlic, and carrots, heat up a stew pot up on med-high heat (or high if you are using an electric stove, as I was, that only heats on high) and add the olive oil when warm. When the olive oil is warm, add the onion, garlic, and carrots, and saute until the onions are translucent.

Add the lentils, garbanzos, and enough water to cover. The amount of water you add with make this stew more or less soupy, so go with what you like. (If I had vegetable bouillon, and not the MSG-laden crap that was in the house's pantry, I would have used it here.)

Add the tomatoes, and season with ground cinnamon (in the pantry) and ground tumeric (I bought it to make tofu scramble). Use as much or as little as you'd like. Feel free to replace the ground cinnamon with one or two cinnamon sticks, if you have those around. Add the bay leaves (brought from home) and some whole coriander (because that's what is in the spice pantry). Again, if you have ground coriander, that would work too. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring to a low boil and cook for at least twenty minutes -- the lentils should be soft. You can cook it longer, it will become more stew-like. Check the water content as you cook and make sure it doesn't get too solid. Also, check to make sure that nothing burns (the pot I was using had a very thin bottom, and the heat had to be on high to cook, so I had to be extra vigilant in my stirring).

You can eat this alone, or with some couscous or pasta or rice, or anything else for that matter. It's a very mild, delicately spiced stew that is pretty filling. Adrianna even ate some. Yum yum.

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