Friday, February 29, 2008

Lentil and Potato Stew

It’s the last day of February. With the beginning of March comes promise of spring and it is to that promise that I am holding onto. With an iron-like vise grip! Yes, the snow is pretty, but I am getting tired of it and of the cold as well. Our bedroom was below 60 last night and my nose was cold—I cannot sleep with a cold nose! (yes, I know that it’s probably a sign that I’m healthy...). Even under flannel sheets and a huge, puffy comforter I cannot get comfortable, and I am just longing for the warmth that the sun will finally bring. And soon, I hope.

Until then, it is up to me to warm us from the inside. Big ol’ flakes of snow continue to fall and since Jack was out driving in it this morning, I wanted to make something hearty and filling and warming for lunch. I looked in my recipe binder and pulled out a long-time favorite from Jane Brody’s “Good Food Gourmet”. This adaptation of her Lentil and Potato Stew, although it sounds rather unexciting, is anything but. A thick stew chock-full of lentils, sautéed potatoes, and tomatoes spiced with turmeric, cayenne, and garam masala is ladled over steaming hot basmati rice and provides (at least 20 minutes) of warmth.

I altered her recipe a little, increasing quantities (because this is so good reheated),
cooking the lentils in veggie broth rather than in water, subbing canned tomatoes for the 2 cups fresh in the original recipe (since I make this in the winter and fresh tomatoes are like cardboard), and adding spinach for color and nutrition.

Spooned over steamed rice, the stew is fragrant with Indian spices and absolutely delicious. Adding a bit of plain yogurt on top balances the heat of the cayenne.

* Exported from MasterCook *

Lentil and Potato Stew

Recipe By: Jane Brody

Servings : 8

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

---------- ---------- ----------------------------------------

4 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth

1 1/2 cups lentils -- brown lentils preferred

2 whole bay leaves

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 large potatoes -- peeled, 1/2" dice

2 teaspoons turmeric

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

14 ounces canned diced tomatoes -- undrained

14 ounces tomato sauce

2 teaspoons garam masala

1 teaspoon mild curry powder

1 teaspoon sugar

2 cups frozen spinach

1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt

Bring veggie broth to a boil, add bay leaves and lentils. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 30 minutes or until just soft. DO NOT drain! Remove bay leaf and set aside.

Drizzle oil into a large nonstick Dutch oven, heat over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds, and add potatoes. Do not disturb potatoes for 2 minutes (to allow bottoms to brown a little) Sprinkle with turmeric, cayenne, salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste. Stir. Continue to cook and stir for another 3 minutes. (Note: if your pan is not big enough, divide the oil, potatoes and spices and cook 2 batches. You want the potatoes to fry, not steam. I used a 3-quart Dutch oven and did this)

Add the tomatoes and sauce, then the lentils with their cooking liquid. Stir in the spices and sugar. Add the frozen spinach (no need to thaw first) and when the mixture comes to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

Serve over steamed rice or with chipati. Dollop some yogurt on top of each.

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Per serving: 258 Calories (kcal); 2g Total Fat; (7% calories from fat); 21g Protein; 42g Carbohydrate; trace Cholesterol; 794mg Sodium

Food Exchanges: 2 Grain(Starch); 1 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates


Laura said...

Yum, I am always on the look out for new lentil stews. If I don't like brown lentils, would you use lentils de puy (i.e., green) or red?

Kitchen Queen Victoria said...

Laura, I believe that the original recipe called for just "lentils". I specified brown because they seem to hold up to reheating better and I usually make enough of this to have for a couple of days' lunches.

I've never used red lentils in anything other than side dishes, but I've used green lentils in soups and I think that they would be fine in this.

Try it-- you'll like it! ;)


Lori said...

This sounds really good. I am not usually a major potato fan but lately I cant stop making them.

Vicci said...

Lori, potatoes are "seasonal" veggies for me-- I crave them only in fall and winter. :)