Monday, December 8, 2008

Lentil Stew

Lentils are high in iron and fiber. Quite healthy! This can be a side dish or a main course. You can add 1/2 to 1 cup of ditalini (small round pasta) or elbow macaroni about 10 minutes before the lentils are done. If you do, increase the broth by about the same volume as the added pasta.

Generous dash extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion, or 1 small, chopped coarsely
1 or 2 carrots chopped coarsely
1 rib celery, chopped fine.
1 or 2 cloves garlic, or spoonful chopped from jar
1 cup lentils (1 pound)
1 quart broth*
1 bay leaf
Salt and black pepper to taste

Like any dried bean type thing, spread the lentils out on some wax paper or newspaper and sort thru them, checking for pebbles or other stuff that doesn't belong. Rinse.

Heat the oil in a soup pot over med high heat. Don't let it scorch. Sauté the onion until it begins to turn transparent, with a little browning. Add the celery, carrot and garlic, sauté another minute and add the broth, bay leaf and lentils.

Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a rapid simmer. Simmer uncovered for about 25 minutes until the lentils are soft. Adjust seasoning and remove bay leaf. The stew will thicken a little as it cools. Serve with a pat of butter.
* If using commercial broth, don't add salt until end of cooking. Use vegetable broth to make it a vegetarian dish, or chicken broth if preferred

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