A Hearty Lentil & Vegetable Stew for Those Dark & Cold Rainy Days
It’s cold, dark and rainy here, so I decided to make a lentil stew. This is not really a recipe, I just used my intuition and free-styled it, but it’s not complicated. I don’t think. I’ve been a bit out of it due to some massive pain from some recent dental work. Ear, jaw, and general TMJ pain. Whatever. But since it is cold, dark and rainy here, I miss being outside. The rain let up this afternoon so I got a chance to go outside and watch the squirrels and birds that frequent our backyard. Seeing all the activity; squirrels nibbling on nuts, several small birds scratching around wet ground, and flying back and forth to the bird feeder… I felt a renewal of spirt, if that makes any sense. The TMJ pain I’ve been having in insane; in the past few weeks I’ve seen ALL of my doctors, the simple answer is physical therapy, which I’ve already started. But until the therapy starts to work, I’ve been just sort of dragging myself through life. And I hate that. Sitting outside with birds and squirrels in our yard today and then getting busy in the kitchen, I at least feel a bit more like myself. The pain is still there, but dulled due to a multitude of both prescription meds and alternative remedies. These are the times I’m just grateful to be alive, here, in our little house with the dogs and my wonderful husband. It’s the little things, ya know? Yeah. The little things can be pretty awesome
Okay, so here is the “meat” of my stew: an autumn blend of lentils I made myself after being inspired by something I saw at the Dual Specialty Store in NYC. The blend had a combination of yellow and green split peas, red, French and black lentils. It’s kinda pretty I think.
So I minced and then sautéed half an onion, two celery sticks and one carrot in a table spoon of olive oil, and after a few minutes I added 1 tablespoon of an herb blend called Parisian Bonnes. After a few minutes, I added another splash of olive oil, and 1 clove of minced garlic. I sautéed the veggies for another minute or so, then added 2 cups of lentils and 4 cups of vegetable broth.
I cooked the soup for 20 minutes, and then added another four cups of vegetable broth, and then four cups of chopped vegetables: 1 carrot, 1 parsnip, 1 small turnip, 7 white bottom mushrooms, 1 potato, and half of a butternut squash). I cooked the stew for another 20-25 minutes or so. The vegetables looked fully cooked by this time. I turned off the stove and stirred in a mixture of 2 tablespoons of kudzu and 2 tablespoons of cold water. After a few minutes I dumped in about 1 cup of roughly chopped rainbow chard. I put the cover on the pot for five minutes. The last thing I added was a slurry of 1 tablespoon each of red and yellow miso paste dissolved in a ladle full of hot new broth. (Note: I pulled a ladle-full of broth before I added the kudzu slurry. A few tablespoons of water would work just as well.)
I served this stew with slices of artisan Rye bread and lots of Earth Balance. Brown rice would work too. This stew was earthy, hearty, and really satisfying. It is truly perfect on the cold and wet days of January.