I’ve been thinking a lot about lentil stew lately. Strange, I know, but I’ve had a craving ever since the fall weather started to set in. Despite having looked on blogs, in books, and on cooking websites over the past few weeks, I have had no luck finding the perfect recipe. I had this image of a lentil soup that wasn’t so soupy, and not so tomato-y, or with any of the eggplant and celery and odd-ball vegetables that most recipes seem to have in them. Where are all the basic, hearty, non-soup-ish recipes? I decided today that I’d had enough, and that it was time to go rogue.
The lentil stew simmering in my brain had potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, and a full-bodied flavor with a variety of earthy spices. I tried my hand at making said imaginary stew, and lo and behold, it actually appeared on my stove top after about an hour of cooking.
I started by chopping some carrots, cried profusely while chopping one large yellow onion, and minced three cloves of garlic. I threw all of this into my dutch oven with a dash of olive oil – just enough to keep the veggies from sticking – and put it on high heat.
All the veggies (aside from the lentils) were from The Man’s Parents’ house in Maine. Fantastic, right? I fell in love with this little garlic – the skin had a beautiful dark coloring that you don’t see in store-bought varieties.
I let the veggies cook for about 10 minutes to caramelize the onions and to get the carrots started. I added three potatoes that I had chopped into cubes, along with a 1 lb bag of green lentils and 8 cups of water. I brought the whole shebang to a boil and then turned down the heat and let it simmer for 30 minutes with the lid slightly cracked. You may find (like I did) that you need to add a little more water as the lentils expand, so don’t leave it alone for too long.
Now comes the fun part. What I look for in a lentil stew is some serious flavor, so I added 2 teaspoons of ground cumin, 2 teaspoons of garam masala, salt & pepper to taste, and then another hearty sprinkle of everything. Mind you, I was working with a giant pot of stew at this point, so it needed a hefty amount of spice. After this step I just let the heat do it’s job. I left the stew to simmer (stirring here and there) for another 20-30 minutes until the lentils and veggies softened.
And that’s all there is to it! It’s pretty simple, and even though it takes some time to pull together, it is well worth it. I can’t think of another dish that is as tasty, filling, healthy (and seasonally appropriate) as lentil stew.
If that’s not enough, lentils are equipped with fiber, folate, iron, protein, and other vitamins and minerals. Some consider lentils a “super food” and there are pages and pages of lentil recipes on the Runner’s World website. I definitely plan to keep some of this around for a pre-run snack or a post-run recovery meal.
Rouge Lentil Stew:
- 3 large carrots
- 1 large yellow onion
- 3 medium white potatoes
- 3 cloves garlic
- 8 cups water
- 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb bag green lentils
- 2-3 tsp garam masala (a mix of 12 Indian spices)
- 2-3 tsp ground cumin
- salt & pepper to taste