Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Curried Red-Lentil Stew with Vegetables

Vegetable oil
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. turmeric
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.) This is great served over rice or just eaten plain with some homemade whole wheat bread on the side!

*This recipe is courtesy of Dana Treat, and she adapted it from Bon Appetit. We thought this was delicious, and if you like a little sweetness to it, add a sprinkle of shredded coconut on the top after you dish it up!

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