Friday, February 1, 2013

Hearty Lentil Stew

We all find our own comfort.  This toothsome stew is one of my cold-weather favorites. A few minutes prep, about 35 minutes on the stove, and Denny and I sit down to steaming bowls of delicious goodness.  

Did I mention healthy?  Three things to love: the dish is low-fat, the brown rice and lentil combo forms a complete protein without the addition of meat,  and it adds fiber to the diet.  Works for folks on gluten-free diets too. 

The easy part is cooking the rice and lentils together.  The secret is choosing lentils and rice that need the same cook time.  I favor green lentils and Texas Best Organic Brown Jasmine Rice, with a cooking time of about 30-35 minutes, purchased at HEB, the national grocery store of Texas. If you aren't fortunate enough to live in Texas, check your store for another brand with a similar cooking time.

Hearty Lentil Stew
Serves 6-8

Ingredients

4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock** 
~ 2 tsp Herbes de Provence, or a mix of dried rosemary, thyme and sage
~ 1 tsp kosher salt
~1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup green lentils, rinsed
1 cup brown jasmine rice or whatever rice you like that cooks in about 35 minutes
2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
4 oz. baby portobella mushrooms, washed & sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 chopped roasted red pepper

Directions:
Bring the stock to a boil in a 4 quart sauce-pot over medium-high heat.  Add salt, pepper, herbs, lentils and rice.  Stir well.  After the mix returns to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and set the timer for 35 minutes.

While the lentils and rice simmer, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet.  When hot, add the onion and green pepper, sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt and cook until soft.  Add the mushrooms and cook until they've begun to release liquid.  Turn down the heat and add the garlic, stir until fragrant then remove from heat and cover.

Check the lentils and rice when the timer goes off.  If either is not tender, stir and replace the lid for a few minutes. It's OK if the liquid isn't all absorbed.  

When rice and lentils are tender, remove from heat and add the vegetables and any accumulated juices.  Add the roasted red pepper.  Mix well and serve.

Like most stews, this is better the second day.

**A few words about chicken stock: If you don't have homemade on hand, buy for flavor--it deepens the dish. I do a chicken/turkey-stock project about 4 times a year and freeze in 1 cup jars. No salt, so I can add as needed to any dish.  The cups only take a few minutes to thaw in the microwave.  

But stock-making is another post...  

Copyright 2009-2013 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

5 comments :

Cynthia Walker Pickens said...

That looks yummy! Alas, my husband eats a low--carb diet, and lentil soups are no longer on the menu at my house. Hmm, maybe next time he goes out of town . . .

Beth said...

I've been craving lentils -- this recipe looks wonderful. I can only get the brown lentils at our local grocery; may order several packages of the green ones to have on hand.

Re your stock: have you posted your recipe and process for that before? If so, would love the link. . .

Kathleen Scott said...

Thanks, ladies. Beth, I haven't posted the stock before but the Thanksgiving turkey stock is almost gone so I'll probably do it soon.

Pit said...

Hi Kathleen,
Looks like a great recipe which I'll certainly have to try some time (soon). So far I have only cooked lentil soup the traditional German way, like my mother used to. That's with some stuff we call "soup vegetables". You can buy that mix in Germany at a supermarket or grocery store. Here in the US I do it myself. It's a mix of some carrot(s), celery root, leek, cauliflower and parsley. I buy that, divide it into smaller portions and then deep freeze it for further use. To cook "my" kind of lentil soup, I fry some bacon and onions, then add some water plus Knorr meat broth, add the "soup veggies" plus more water, and finally the lentils plus some (cubed) potatoes and let all of it simmer until the lentils are done. Welll, I might have some ham hocks in the stew, too. In germany I'd have "Raechermettwuerstchen" [smoked and cured spiced ground meat sausage] with it, but unfortunately I haven't been able to find those here in the US yet. Well, Wieners will go fine with lentil soup, too.
Hm, maybe I should have some again soon. Winter is the best time for that.
Best regards, and have a great Sunday afternoon and evening,
Pit

Denny Coates said...

Because of Kathleen, I've learned there are hundreds of variations of "beans and rice" :)