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Lentil Stew – – so easy yet satisfying

This is a modified recipe inspired by Ina Garten’s version for French Lentil Soup.

I am calling this a “stew” as I cook it down to a thicker consistency and also use the slow cooker so I don’t have to attend the stove for long periods of time. A delicious result.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound  green lentils (I used Italian lentils from Umbria)
  • 4 cups chopped yellow onions (3 large onions)
  • 4 cups chopped leeks, white part only (2 leeks)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil, plus additional for drizzling on top
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 cups medium-diced celery (8 stalks, with leaves preferred)
  • 3 cups medium-diced carrots (4 to 6 carrots)
  • 3 quarts chicken or vegetable stock (two 48oz. containers if using prepared stock)
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons red wine or red wine vinegar
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, cover the lentils with boiling water and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain.
  2. In a large stockpot on medium heat, sauté the onions, leeks, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme, and cumin for 20 minutes, until the vegetables are translucent and very tender.
  3. Add the celery and carrots and and tomato paste. Fold the paste in well so that it will be fully integrated and sauté allowing the tomato paste to caramelize for 10 more minutes.
  4. Place the cooked vegetables into the crock of your slow cooker.
  5. Add the stock and lentils.
  6. Cook on the high setting for four hours or until the lentils are tender. If it is still too soupy, put the stew into an uncovered pot (Dutch oven) and let it cook down and reduce until the desired thickness.
  7. Check and balance the seasonings.
  8. Add the red wine and serve hot, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with grated Parmesan. An extra treat is to serve with good quality crusty bread.

Soaking the lentils in boiling water

Cooking down the onions, leeks, garlic, and fresh thyme

Addition of celery and carrots. Layering flavor

Caramelizing the tomato paste

Moving cooked vegetables to the slow cooker

Folding in the lentils prior to adding the stock

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