Friday, 31 May 2013

Warming lentil stew for a British summer!

I know Summer is around here somewhere, but right now, looking at that big grey sky, I think she's a little shy... That's ok though, on days like this I like nothing more than a big bowl of warming lentil stew- keeps you feeling all warm inside even on a grey day! My girls could eat lentils everyday, and if you cook them with a little kombu, you'll find that the digestive complaints that often come with lentils are avoided!

This is one of my intuitive recipes- the amounts are not exact, trust yourself and use your judgement for this recipe. That way you can adjust the stew to your own tastes, it can be super thick or very soup like, whatever you prefer. The list of ingredients is long, but you just throw it all in a pot so it is super easy to make.

I usually serve mine with some mashed potatoes made with a little nut milk, though the potatoes pictured here are green, you're not imagining it! I stirred in some left over raw courgette, hemp, lemon and mint sauce and they tasted delicious!

Lentil stew- makes enough for 6-8

2 small or 1 large leek, diced
1 large onion, finely diced
2 large carrots, diced
2 sticks of celery, diced
1 1/2 cups of pureed roasted tomatoes, or jarred passata (the roasted gives a nicer flavour if you have the time!)
400g dried green speckled (puy) lentils, washed
1 inch piece of kombu
2 litres of low sodium vegetable stock
Generous drizzle of maple syrup for a sweet smokey taste
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1-2 tbsp fresh thyme
1 tbsp dried oregano
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Big handful of fresh parsley
Big handful of fresh chives

Sautee the veggies in a little vegetable stock until softened (you could use olive oil if you wanted). This takes a good 10mins when using stock. Then throw in all the rest of the ingredients except from the parsley and chives. Bring to the boil, reduce to simmer and cook for around 50mins until the lentils are flavourful and tender. Keep a close eye on them, and if you need to, go ahead and add extra water or stock. If you find it is too soupy, up the heat a little to reduce it down further to the consistancy you'd like. At the last moment add the parsley and chives, stir and you're ready to go!