We’re deep into the long, cold upstate New York winter and I had some red lentils hanging around so it seemed like a good time for a hearty, warm stew. This one is adapted from The Chew’s version and it was delicious: subtly sweet and “meaty”, accented with spice.
1 Red Onion (finely chopped)
Salt and Pepper to taste
5 Large Carrots (thinly sliced coins)
3 Celery Ribs (finely chopped)
3 Garlic cloves (finely minced)
2 cups Red Lentils (rinsed)
2 teaspooons Cumin Seeds (toasted and ground)
1 teaspoon Coriander (toasted and ground)
3/4 teaspoon Chipotle Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
6 cups Water
1 Sweet Potato (peeled and finely diced; about 1 cup)
1 bunch Red Kale (finely shredded)
For Accompanying Bread:
1 cup Goat Cheese (at room temperature)
1/3 cup Spicy Mango Chutney
1 tablespoon Curry Powder
1 piece of Focaccia Bread (cut into wedges)
In a heavy bottomed pot (I used a 5.5 qt Le Creuset pot) over medium-high heat, add about 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil is shimmering and hot, add the onion. Add a pinch of sea salt and saute for 4 to 5 minutes, or until soft.
Add the carrots and celery and cook for 3 more minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 more minute. Add in the rinsed lentils and cook for about 2 minutes, toasting in the oil–add more oil if needed. Meanwhile, toast the cumin and coriander seeds and then grind with mortar and pestle. Add the cumin seeds, coriander, ground chipotle chili, and turmeric, and continue to cook for another minute, or until fragrant. Add the water and a big pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce to a very low heat and gently simmer for about 10 minutes.
Stir in the sweet potato and kale. Cook for another 15-20 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked through but not mushy.
Once cooked, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
For Bread: Preheat the oven to broil (I “broiled” in the toaster oven). Mix together the goat cheese, mango chutney, curry powder, and about 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Smear the focaccia pieces with the goat cheese mixture and place them on a baking sheet. Broil for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and melted (in the toaster oven, the mixture did not bubble but the bread got toasty and the mixture softened).
Remove the tray from the oven and let cool slightly. Serve the bread wedges with the stew.