Thursday, September 8, 2011

Quick Lentil Stew and Focaccia

Last week a work colleague had a lentil salad for lunch - it looked delicious. So delicious that I wanted to try something similar myself. I bought some French lentils (I like them because they cook faster) and threw together a quick lentil stew and some focaccia this weekend.

The focaccia recipe I used was cobbled together from a Julia Child (Baking with Julia) recipe and one from a bread class at Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. The lentil stew recipe I made up on the fly, so I'll list it below. In terms of the ingredients I just threw together what I had around the kitchen and pantry. I called it a stew instead of a soup because I wanted it to be thick hearty rather than brothy but if you prefer more broth you can add more water or stock. I wanted to use stock but didn't have any and worried that the water would make for a bland stew, but it actually was very flavorful so I'm glad I went ahead and made it without waiting to use stock.

Quick & Easy Lentil Stew
French green lentils - I used about 3 cups worth (rinsed and picked over)
1 large onion, chopped (I used a huge vadalia, but I love onions, so use more/less as you like)
5 small carrots, chopped into bite sized pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can whole tomatoes, chopped
smoked thick cut Canadian bacon cut into bite sized pieces (any other meat you like would work...or no meat!)
olive oil
~5 cups water to cover lentils (more or less depending on how much lentils you use and/or how much broth you want)
salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 bay leaves
~1/2 t oregano
I didn't think of it at the time but some hot sauce might be good to give it a little kick. Frank's Red Hot is my fav.

Heat olive oil in a large pot, add onions and carrots. Cover and cook for about 5-10 minutes - stirring occasionally - until the onions are translucent and carrots begin to soften. Add garlic, salt and pepper and stir.

Add the remaining ingredients (lentils, tomatoes, Canadian bacon, bay leaves, oregano, water) and give it a good stir. Cook for about 30 minutes - stirring occasionally and adding more water, if neccessary - until the sauce is thickened and the lentils are soft.

Enjoy with some focaccia, crusty french bread or some tortilla chips and a glass of red wine. I've been bringing leftovers to work this week and it's just as delicious!

the finished stew - onions and carrots and lentils, oh my!

into the bowl


focaccia - brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and chopped rosemary...
ready for baking

smells delicious

Bye for now...

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