Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lentils By Request

In the comments to my last post, Sarah at Thinfluenced asked about my lentil recipe. As many of you know, this year I've been on a mission to lessen my hatred of The Vile Legume. I started with chickpeas, since I already knew I didn't hate hummus or falafel. After mastering the chickpea, I moved on to lentils. Why? People, I have the attention span of a gnat. The "why" for the lentil could be anything. Best I can figure, there was a random nutrition/ fitness/ cooking article out there that mentioned the virtues of the lentil and my ADD-esque brain grabbed onto it, causing me to research nearly every lentil recipe extant. Finally I figured I'd just go with soup. I'm a kitchen slacker, what can I say?

I finally found a recipe I liked, but it's been severely tweaked since reading the comments that followed it (reduced oil, went with broth/ stock instead of water, added curry powder, more carrots and onions, etc), so this is what I've finally come up with:

2 TBSP olive oil
2 medium onions, diced

4 carrots, sliced

2 ribs celery, sliced or diced

2 bay leaves

1 TBSP garlic powder (original recipe calls for 2 garlic cloves minced -- see "slacker" statement above for justification)

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried basil

1 TBSP curry powder

1 lb dried lentils

8 cups/ 64 fl oz. chicken broth (or stock, or vegetable stock if you prefer)

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes (I like the ones with basil, garlic, and oregano)

1 package thawed and rinsed frozen spinach (optional)

1/8 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)

2 TBSP balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot (I don't know much about sizes – mine's about 8inches high and 10 inches around maybe?) heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery and cook until onion is translucent. Add bay leaves, garlic powder, oregano, basil, curry powder, crushed red pepper, and salt and pepper. Cook for two minutes. Add rinsed lentils, broth, and tomatoes and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for at least one hour (I usually take about 2). Check periodically and add additional salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste. Use caution especially on that last one. After at least one hour, add the balsamic vinegar. If you're adding the spinach (which I haven't lately, but it's harmless), this is where I'd do it. Then continue to simmer until done, where "done" is measured by "Are the lentils still crunchy? If so, continue to simmer until edible."

The base recipe over at Allrecipes says this only serves 6, but I get at least 10 1-cup servings out of it, and consume it over the course of a week or so with occasional nibblings by the offspring and Choreboy. My favorite thus far is to top it with some shredded parmesan, but I have a feeling avocado would also go nicely on it. Might have to give that one a whirl.

If you try it, let me know how it turns out!


Cheeseboy said...

Mm, lentil. Gonna try it.

Sarah said...

I am ALL over this! Thanks for the recipe! I will let you know how it goes. :) Yum, yum!

Sarah @ Thinfluenced