Sunday, January 1, 2012

Lentil-Spinach Stew

This is an easy, delicious soup-like stew. It's a perfect "pantry" dinner - you probably have all of the ingredients on hand.

Spinach-Lentil Stew
Better Homes and Gardens: Vegetarian Recipes

1 C dry lentils
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced

4 C water
1/2 can of whole tomatoes
vegetable bouillon**
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp each: dried thyme, crushed fennel seed, pepper
1 bay leaf

2 medium carrots, chopped ( 1 C)
1 10 oz package frozen spinach
1 tbs balsamic vinegar

**I use Superior Touch brand "Better Than Bouillon". I think it has the best flavor, but BEWARE: it is salty.  I always use about a third of what the directions on the jar call for and do not add extra salt to recipes when using it. Whatever type of bouillon you use, adjust your usual amount to flavor the four cups of water. (With my brand, I would use a hefty teaspoon or so)

Heat some olive oil in a large soup pan and cook the garlic and onion over  medium heat until tender. Add the water, lentils, tomatoes, bouillon,Worcestershire sauce, thyme, fennel, bay leaf, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes. 

Add the carrots and *frozen* spinach. I was surprised that the frozen spinach didn't make the stew too runny when all of the liquid melted, but when I added it it actually seemed to absorb the liquid in the pot. Trust the recipe!

Cover the pot and allow everything to simmer about 15 more minutes, or until the carrots and lentils are tender. Finally, discard the bay leaf and stir in the vinegar.

I would recommend serving this with a sprinkling of Parmesan or other flavorful Italian cheese. Enjoy!

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