February is almost here and we’ve had just a couple of brief flirtations with snow thus far this winter, much to my kindergartener’s dismay. I keep reminding him that we tend to get our biggest snow storms in February, so there’s no need to completely give up hope just yet. In the meantime, we’re enjoying the unexpected bounty of sunny days, running around in the backyard and to the playground. And so quick and warming dinners are still very much in demand, like this hearty lentil stew. I’m sure Rachael Ray would classify this as “stoup,” thicker than soup but not quite a real stew. It hits the spot just fine on a chilly Meatless Monday, whatever you choose to call it.
Recipe: Carrot Lentil Stew Serves 4
2 cups red lentils, rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin
4 cups water
salt and pepper
1. Soak lentils in cold water for 30 minutes. Drain, set aside.
2. Heat olive oil in soup pot over medium heat. Cook onion several minutes, until translucent. Add cumin and cook 1 minute. Add carrots, lentils and water, stir, and bring to a boil on medium high. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer 30-40 minutes, until lentils are falling apart. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Note: Red lentils, sadly, lose their color when cooked. So the carrots add an important element of color to what would otherwise be a bit dreary looking. You could swap in cubed, pre-cooked squash or sweet potatoes if you prefer.