Autumnal Lentil Stew

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How cute are these little pumpkin-like pasta shapes?

So, winter has arrived in Phoenix. Yes, today’s temperature was 83º, but it drops down into the 40’s at night. This morning the house was downright chilly, so what better to make than a hearty lentil stew. I’m sure I’ve posted lentil recipes before, but I love them, so here goes.

Since I had a ham bone in the freezer, I used that and simmered it in 12 cups of water.  If you prefer, just use 10 cups of broth.  Any broth will do and you can keep this vegetarian. Since I used my roaster that doubles as a slow cooker and there are vent holes, some of the liquid does evaporate. If you’re using the ham bone, simmer gently for about 2 hours, then remove the bones and meat. Up to you if you want to use the meat, but I usually discard it as it tends to become tough and has given up its flavor to the broth.

Today, I used this Autumn Lentil Blend with red and brown lentils, yellow split peas, and moong beans, but you can use any lentils.  Truth be told, in this recipe the lentils tend to break down and thicken the broth  It’s more of a stew consistency than a soup, and the colors are not as discernible once it’s cooked.

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Add 2 cups of the lentils, cover and simmer for about 20-30 minutes.

Then add 2 or 3 carrots diced, 2 or 3 ribs of celery diced, and 1 onion diced.  You can also add spinach, peppers, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips. Here’s the part that turns it great.  Lentils have an earthy flavor, but they are bland and need to be heavily seasoned, so add:

  • up to 1 cup red wine
  • handful of fresh parsley chopped, or 4 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 4 tablespoons sumac
  • 3 tablespoons paprika (use smoked if you like)
  • 3 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons dried mint
  • 2 tablespoons turmeric
  • garlic to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • salt if you need it

Simmer another 20-30 minutes until the vegetables are done. Just before serving, add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Of course, I had to use my pretty pasta, but I usually serve this with little seashell pasta, orzo, rice or Israeli couscous.  This makes a whole lot, but it freezes well.

Enjoy, and keep warm!

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