I’ll be honest. About a year ago, I didn’t really know what a lentil was. I figured it was some type of bean-type item, mainly because my diet book told me I should have a cup of beans, chickpeas or lentils at various points. But the other times I did the diet, I stuck to normal beans.
Then, a few months ago, I was going through “barefoot contessa at home” and saw a recipe for stewed lentils & tomatoes. While it’s not quite as exciting as car bomb cupcakes or monster cookies, it is quite good. And healthy.
The lentils pictured above are more watery than what is pictured in the cookbook… and more watery than when I’ve made them in the past. This is probably because I (accidentally) used a different kind of lentils this time. But it’s still good — alone or mixed with some brown rice.
Stewed Lentils & Tomatoes (adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home)
Serves 6 to 8
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups large-diced yellow onions (I am not a fan of large chunks of onions, so I chopped it in a small food processor. One large onion was enough)
2 cups large-diced carrots (3 to 4 normal-sized carrots. Don’t use baby carrots, if you can help it)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
1 28-oz. can whole plum tomatoes
1 cup French green lentils (I have never actually found something that says “French green lentils” on it — if you have the same problem, look for “French” over green. Either will work.)
2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 teaspoon mild or sweet curry powder
1/2 teaspoon hot curry powder (you can use all mild and skip the hot if you don’t like spicy foods)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. Add the garlic and cook for one minute more.
Meanwhile, dump the whole can of tomatoes (including the juice) into a large food processor or blender and coarsely chop the tomatoes. Rinse and pick over the lentils to make sure there are no stones in the package.
Add the tomatoes, lentils, chicken broth, curry powder, thyme, salt and pepper to the pan (Don’t add the vinegar yet!). Raise the heat to bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer covered for about 40 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Check occasionally to make sure the liquid is still simmering. Remove from heat and allow it to sit covered for another 10 minutes. Add the vinegar and serve hot.