Monday, May 14, 2018

Curried Lentils and Carrots

This lentil recipe makes a stew, though with some extra liquid it could certainly be a soup. I like it because it's got lentils and lots of veggies, but the mushrooms and the small amount of bacon give it the flavor boost to make even the meat lovers in the family think this tastes just great. Give this a try!

Ingredients:

1 cup lentils
4 cups water
1 bay leaf
4 slices bacon, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbs grated ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 Tbs spicy mustard
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
3 small carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch rounds
1 can (14-1/2 oz) crushed tomatoes
1 Tbs sriracha sauce (optional)
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
several grinds of sea salt (to taste)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Directions: Add the lentils to the water and the bay leaf in a deep soup pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cover, with the lid ajar. Simmer for about 30 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Prepare the remaining ingredients while the lentils cook. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Cook the bacon until crisp, then remove the bacon to paper towels. Drain the bacon grease and discard. Wipe the skillet, add the olive oil, along with the onion, garlic, ginger and spices. Cook for about 3 or 4 minutes, until the onion begins to turn translucent. Add the red pepper and mushrooms, and continue to cook for another minute or two. Turn the heat off the skillet, and let sit until the lentils have cooked. Add the bacon and vegetables to the lentils, along with the carrots, tomatoes, and optional hot sauce. Cook until the carrots are tender and the tomatoes are hot, about 10 minutes. Taste, adding lemon juice and sea salt, if needed. Serve, topping with cilantro.
Serves 4

Stealthy Cooking Tip: Draining bacon grease and cooking the remaining vegetables in the olive oil keeps the saturated fats low, while adding the deep flavor of bacon to this dish. To make the flavor even deeper, add a spoonful of chicken broth flavoring when you add the tomatoes. 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Lentils Stew with Sausage

This lentil stew may be very British in origin, but instead of rashers and true style sausage, I've used lower fat and calorie chicken sausage. In this recipe, I used the Andouille style chicken sausage, but any flavor will work equally well.

2 links chicken sausage
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup onion, about one medium onion, chopped
1 tsp minced garlic, about one clove
1 tsp cumin seed
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary (or several sprigs of fresh rosemary)
1 bay leaf
1 cup chicken stock (or more if necessary)
1/2 cup sliced carrot, about one large carrot
1 cup cubed potato, about one large potato
1 lb cooked lentils
1 Tbs wine vinegar
several grinds of sea salt
several grinds of pepper

Direction:

Slice the chicken sausage and place in a microwave safe dish. Heat on high for 2-3 minutes, until the sausage is cooked and the fat is rendered. Drain off the fat from the sausages. Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes, until the onion just begins to turn translucent. Add the spices and cook for another minute, until the spices begin to smell pungent. Add the chicken stock, along with the carrot, potatoes, and lentil and cook until the carrots and potatoes are tender. Taste, adding vinegar, salt, and pepper to your liking. Serve with a green salad as a side.

Serves 2 as a main course, 4 as a side dish

Stealthy Cooking Tip: You can find cooked lentils in the vegetable section at Trader Joes. If you can't find them in the vegetable section, you can use 2 cans of cooked lentils. You can also use dry lentils. If you use dry lentils, you'll need to increase the liquid to 4 to 6 cups, and increase the cooking time up to one hour. Taste the lentils to make sure they are tender. Dried lentils vary in the amount of time for cooking. The older the lentil, the longer it takes to cook!