What do I stew with my lentils- I cant seem to make a decent stew- please help my family?
Well, it depends on whether you are vegetarian or not - start with carrots, onions, and bay leaves. If you are inclined to eat meat, you can toss in sausage, ham, or bacon to add that oh-so-delicious rich, smoky flavor. There are many more elaborate recipes, but this the base from which I always seem to start :-)
lentils pair very well with chunky root vegetables, toss & saute some creamer potatoes & parsnip pieces in butter, & add to the lentil stew. Another candidate is chunks of Paneer cheese from the Indian grocery stores. dice & add them to get a lovely delicate yet meaty satisfying textural component.
I've used the Indian name for whole lentils, Masoor dal
For the Filling (a complete recipe for Masoor dal ):
1 cup Masoor dal
1 large onion, diced
1/4 tsp turmeric
2-3 cardamom pods
For the gravy paste:
1 pod garlic
2 inch piece ginger
1 tbsp Coriander seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 dried Red chilli or fresh jalapeno
1 tsp garam masala
Salt to taste
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp oil or ghee
combine Masoor Dal and onion, turmeric and cardamom pods with 2 cups water. cover & cook till soft. Set aside
blend the ginger, garlic, red chillies, coriander, cumin and garam masala into a paste. In a skillet heat the oil/ghee and add the paste & cook till the raw smell disappears. Add the crushed tomatoes & salt and cook for ~ 5 minutes. (you may add the Sauteed vegetables or paneer at this point)
Add the cooked masoor dal, lower heat & simmer for ~ 10-15 minutes till the flavors are well combined. Add water or vegetable stock as required to your taste evaporate till you get to the consistency you prefer. garnish with cilantro if you want.
Sausage, like a garlic sausage or cotecchino is excellent with lentils. Duck is good too.
You may want to use an equal mix of regular brown lentils and red lentils. The brown ones will retain their shape with the red ones softening and thickening the liquid. Root vegetables are wonderful with lentils, I just worked with rutabagas for the first time and was very pleased! Also, my favorite, sautéed pearl onions. If you eat meat, I would do a rich ham stock. Or, referring back to a previous foodpickle question, if you had any leftover corned beef broth, you could use it here, diluting if very salty. Curious to hear what you come up with!
May I humbly suggest my recipe: http://www.food52.com/recipes...
Sausage would be a great addition, if you want something meaty.
I do what littleknitter suggests, plus rosemary and a little soy sauce and a little balsamic as some of the cooking liquid, maybe one tablespoon of each per one cup liquid. Saute the carrot and onion (you could add celery too) in olive oil in a saucepan. When it gets fairly tender add the liquid and the bay and rosemary; when it reaches a boil add the lentils and reduce heat to simmer. They should take about a half hour if you're using plain old green/brown lentils.