|Small, delicate, green lentils in an earthy mushroom soup|
The only down-sides to being away for 9 days are that the houseplants might starve to death, and any unused produce will turn into rotten waste. We're not sure what to do about the houseplants, but the produce I can control. But how to use them all up in one meal? It would have to be a stew.
I've never cooked lentils before. I bought the only kind Fresh Direct had, the French Green Lentils, about 4 months ago. Every time I pick up the box I am reminded that they take over an hour to prepare. Why must it be so much work? I finally decided that a stew would be the easiest way after finding a helpful recipe from Ina Garten.
My version was a bit different, because I needed to use up mushrooms, fresh tomatoes, and spinach. I also can't believe all the recipes I found call for an entire pound of lentils. Who are these people feeding? A family of 12? A small bowl of this soup goes a long way, especially if eaten with bread.
|Lentils: a great source of protein, iron, folate, Vitamin B and fiber.|
Shiitake Lentil Stew
Approx. 6 servings
Approx. 6 servings
1 hour +
1 T Unsalted Butter
1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ C Onion, roughly chopped
½ C Leeks, white and light green parts chopped
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
¼ tsp ground Cumin
1 T fresh Thyme (1/4tsp dried)
1 C carrot, sliced
2 C Shiitake mushroom caps, sliced (8-10 caps)
2 C Tomatoes, chopped
4 C (32oz) Organic Vegetable Stock
2 Bay leaves
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 T Red Wine Vinegar (optional)
2 Handfuls fresh baby Spinach
Grated Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)
1. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Pour the cup of lentils onto a plate and sift through, removing any stones. Rinse in a fine wire strainer. Add the lentils to the boiling water, and reduce heat to simmer 30 minutes.
2. In a soup/stock pot, melt butter and add olive oil. Add the onions, garlic, leeks, cumin and thyme – cooking and stirring for about 8 minutes over medium-low heat (you don’t want anything turning brown or getting crisp – just softened).
3. Add chopped carrots, cooking 5 minutes.
4. Mix in the mushrooms and tomatoes, cooking another 5 minutes.
5. Pour in the 4 cups (entire 32oz box) of good quality organic vegetable stock, and add the bay leaves. Bring back to a gentle boil.
6. Drain the cooked lentils and add them to the soup pot. Taste and season with salt and pepper – start with 2 tsp salt and several grinds of pepper and work from there.
7. Simmer another 20-30 minutes, and add more cumin if needed. Try to find and remove the bay leaves, using tongs helps. Add the vinegar.
8. About 5 minutes before serving, add the spinach to the pot and stir until wilted.
9. Top with grated Parmesan cheese, and crushed red pepper if you like things spicier. Serve with a nice crusty baguette for dipping.
**Make this Vegan by omitting the butter and cheese.