Lentil Stew Tradition

Since Thanksgiving, I have been trying to get back to my typical eating habits; you know, a little less pie and more vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. One of my favorite things to eat are legumes. I don’t think there are legumes I don’t love, just some that I haven’t tried yet.  Just in case you need a refresher, the legume family  includes beans, peas, lentils, peanuts, and soybeans.  If you’re looking for a good source of protein and fiber, legumes are winners!  Another plus is that unlike dried beans, which you have to soak overnight, dried lentils are relatively quick and easy to cook. Thinking about what to make this week, I remembered about Poor Man’s Stew.

The husband and I invented Poor Man’s Stew right after graduating from collge, at a time when we were both financially challenged.  One day we were at the grocery store, contemplating what to make that will be cheap, nutritious, and make a ton of leftovers, so we picked up a bag of lentils. There was a simple recipe on the back of the lentil package that called for 4 ingredients: lentils, kale, potatoes, broth. We said, “ehhh this will do; it’s cheap and easy.

The first time we made, we ate it for a week. By the end of the week, Eric ate so much of the stew that he did not want to look at lentils again for months! Just thinking about those days makes me laugh! But it was cheap and nutritions, so we decided that we must perfect the recipe and try it again. Over the years, we changed the recipe many times, and we now we have a a lentil stew we  love, and one that’s still cheap and nutritions. You don’t have to eat it for a week straight, I would actually advise against it :) ,  but you will certainly want to have leftovers since it’s so good.

Perfect for wintertime or whenever you just want have a warm bowl of stew.

1 lb green lentils (or your favorite variety)
½ of a yellow onion, diced
4 carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 leek, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 package of mushrooms, quartered
4 small red potatoes, quartered
3 tsp fresh thyme (or 2 tsp dried), minced
3 tsp fresh sage (or 2 tsp dried), minced
2 tsp chili pepper
3 Tbls soy sauce
1 head of kale, or about 10 ounces, chopped
cooking spray
salt and pepper (to taste)
splash (or two) of your favorite beer, optional

In a large dutch oven, sprayed with cooking spray, saute the onions for 3 minutes over medium-low heat. Add the celery, carrots, leeks and garlic and saute until vegetable become softer but not mushy (about 5 more minutes).

Add the mushrooms, thyme, and sage, and heat through for another 5 minutes.

Add the lentils, stir and add about 8 cups of veggie broth.

And ooops, Eric added a few splashes of an Amber Ale he was sipping on while we made this. It actually gave the stew a deeper, richer flavor, so I added it to the recipe. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to low, close the lid and cook for about 25 minutes.

If you see that there is not enough liquid to cover the lentils after 25 minutes, add more vegetable broth. Add the potatoes,  soy sauce and stir. Cook for another 25 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

After the potatoes are cooked,  add the kale and pack it in there. It will sit high on top of your pot, but will cook down in a minute or two.

And whala! You are done.  Season with salt and pepper or add a splash or two of soy sauce, if you prefer. Hope you enjoy our trusted little recipe and all the leftovers :).

Just in case you missed it, and need another recipe for a protein packed meal, check out the quinoa cakes salad recipe , from a few posts ago.

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  1. Posted December 1, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    wow! Are you really into cooking these days? You keep posting such creative recipes, I’m impressed. I want to try this stew recipe, I wonder if you could also cook this in a slow cooker overnight.. I still have that crock-pot you gave me! Love your pictures too, very pretty :)

  2. Posted December 1, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    Yes! I’ve been vegan for almost a year now, so I had to do a lot of research on nutritious food that would help me stay active with the running, pilates and etc…It’s been really fun to experiment and learn. I’m not the best photographer, but I try to make it work.

    I think the recipe will work in a slow cooker if you set to really low setting to make sure the lentils don’t overcook. Also, don’t soak them, just rinse and throw them in. Thanks for the compliments, Erin!

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    My name is Maria and I live in California. I love teaching high-energy Pilates classes, going on long runs, and making connections with all of you! Hope you find a few useful articles, fitness tips, and recipes while you're here.

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