Although I have been cooking and baking a lot in the past two weeks, it has been nice to have a break from the familiar. I essentially took two weeks off from my clients and just cooked whatever I wanted (or didn’t cook!) for my family. Every time I have that luxury, I immediately want to make red lentils. I actually have two favorite recipes for these little beauties and I could have sworn I already shared one of them. But after looking through past posts, I cannot find it anywhere.
Whenever it is time to pull these recipes out, I can never remember which one I like better. One has zucchini and coconut milk, the other has carrots, spinach and no coconut milk. Both have Indian spices and seasonings (lots of ginger and garlic), both are extremely tasty and good for you. Both are incredibly well accompanied by roasted cauliflower. If you think you don’t like cauliflower, please – oh please – give roasting it a try. Just cut a small head of cauliflower into bite size florets and toss with a sprinkling of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-30 minutes. Toss once to make sure it browns evenly. You want it really brown. If you happen to have a dark colored baking sheet in your house, now is the time to use it. You will win friends and influence people with this dish. I kid you not.
But back to the lentils. I will give the recipe for the the carrot one today in the hopes I will unearth the other one from a past post at a later date. While this recipe does not call for coconut milk, I decided to add some and then, on tasting it, decided it was too sweet. So here is the original.
I found the other recipe – it’s here.
Curried Red-Lentil Stew with Vegetables
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Serve this stew over basmati rice.
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 (2 x 1 inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated
5 cloves of garlic, minced
5 cups water
1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
3/4 tsp. tumeric
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed
3 medium carrots, quartered lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise
5 oz. baby spinach leaves
1 cup frozen peas, not thawed
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Heat a heavy 4-5 quart pot over moderate heat and then add just enough oil to coat the bottom. Cook the onion with a sprinkling of salt, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8-10 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Add spices and cook over low heat for 1 minute.
Stir in lentils and 5 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add carrots and another sprinkling of salt and simmer covered, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender and lentils have broken down into a coarse puree, 15-20 minutes.
Stir in spinach and peas and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until peas are tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in cilantro and season stew with salt and pepper. If necessary, add enough water to thin stew so that it can be ladled over rice.
(Stew without spinach or peas can be made and chilled, uncovered, until completely cooled, then covered for up to 5 days. Reheat over moderately low heat, thinning with water to a pourable consistency and stirring frequently, before adding remaining ingredients.)