Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lentils: My First Experience

Tonight I'm making Potato-Lentil Stew (Taste of Home March/April 2010, thanks for the recipe!).  It's not actually for dinner this evening but for tomorrow.  This, my friends, is all about preparation.  See, there's this yoga class I like to go to on Wednesdays at 5:30.  But obviously I also want to send my dear husband off to his theology discussion class with a full stomach.  So what do I do?  Well, sometimes I suggest stopping at McDonald's, sometimes I suggest leftovers or a sandwich, and sometimes I make a tasty meal ahead of time.  I'll leave it to your imagination which occurs most often.

You need just a few things for this stew.  No meat, which makes it very easy, and the rest of the ingredients are probably things you have on hand.  Except for dried lentils.  This stew may make or break my good impression of the home use of lentils, so cross your fingers.  In a magazine a while ago (I read a lot of magazines, so please don't ask me which one), I read something about lentils and barley being just these nutritional powerhouses.  The details escape me, but it was enough to make me buy a bag of dried lentils during my next trip to the grocery store.

To start on the recipe...  Here is what you need.

First, chop a couple carrots.  Chop one large onion.  I choose yellow because I (erroneously, I am sure) believe their color means they have more flavor than white onions.  Make sure your pieces are uniform in size!

Cook those, covered, with a couple teaspoons of olive oil until your veggies are tender.

Meanwhile, mince three cloves of garlic.  Get your 32 ounces of vegetable (but I used chicken) broth ready.  Rinse your dried lentils.  Doesn't the word "lentils" just sort of make you chuckle?  I don't know what it is about it...

You might as well rinse your can of beans now, too.  The recipe actually calls for kidney beans, but I didn't have any.  So I pictured chickpeas but am actually using pinto beans.  How do ya like that?!

Measure out your spices:  4 tsp. chili powder, 3 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. oregano.

When your veggies are tender, add the garlic and spices; cook for 1 minute.

It's a hot, steamy mess in there, huh?  You should smell it!

Then add your broth and lentils.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat and cover to simmer about 25 minutes, until lentils are tender.

Now add your 2 cans diced tomatoes with green chilis, whatever kind of beans you're using, 3 1/2 cups of thawed, cubed hash browns, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until your hash browns are tender.

This isn't even done yet, and it looks deliciously edible!  I'll let you know tomorrow if it's as good as it looks - and smells!

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