It’s Been So Long, How About a Bowl of Lentils?

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For whatever reason I’ve got that “Reunited and it feels so good” song going around on repeat in my head tonight. Must be because this is the first time I’ve blogged, or even remotely felt like blogging in the last month or so. Why? Well it might be the little hormonal/life imbalance of becoming pregnant. Don’t get me wrong, I’m ecstatic about it, but it’s mostly robbed me of my desire to cook and eat. Rather strange no? Instead of having strange pickle & ice cream combo cravings I’ve found that I’ve mostly lost interest in food except as a means to quell hunger pangs and provide general nutrition to myself and more importantly the person in my belly. As someone who loved to eat beforehand, this is a somewhat devastating development. I’m hoping it’s just a “phase” and it’ll pass along with the phase that requires me to get all weepy-eyed at anything young or furry.  But I digress…. for some reason – maybe it was the copious farm share pick up or the fact that not all of our tomatoes were lost to blight this year (this year SUCKED for tomatoes in the northeast) but I actually felt like making something for dinner. AND I felt like writing about it, so here you go..

Tonight I made a kind of crazy concoction which involves Trader Joes pre-cooked lentils (I love them, so easy!) and a bunch of random stuff from our farm share and/or garden. As a side note, my doc tells me that canned food is now a no-no for pregnant and nursing moms as well as tots under the age of 2 because the cans are lined with ….BPA… yeah, I had no idea either …. so canned food is out the window for me for the foreseeable future. Good times. Here is what went into the pot:

1/2 large red onion diced

2 small fennel bulbs, sliced thin

1 carrot, diced

1 package pre-cooked lentils (approx 2 cups)

1 bunch of swiss chard, leaves only, torn into pieces

2-3 cups diced fresh tomato

2-3 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 cup of chicken broth (see my note below regarding TJ’s chicken soup concentrate)

1/2 cup white wine (don’t worry, I cook the hell out of it, there’s no alcohol left)

2-3 tablespoons of olive oil

salt to taste

Take a large sauce pan, place onion, carrot, fennel and olive oil and turn the heat to medium high. Stir often and cook for a good 5-6 minutes while the veggies get soft. Add the lentils, wine, curry powder and a pinch of salt and continue to cook on medium high heat for another 2-4 minutes. Add tomatoes, broth, and parsley. Add chard – You will have to incorporate it slowly as it wilts into the stew. Turn the heat down to medium low and allow the whole thing to simmer for another 15- 20 minutes. In the meantime, add some brown rice to your rice cooker (or cook it stove top) and serve the lentil stew over top of the rice.

On the broth – I actually used Trader Joe’s Chicken Broth Concentrate, which is like crack if you really dig chicken soup like I do. This is THE BEST in terms of flavor I have ever had. And I make my own chicken soup from scratch on a regular basis but the flavors in this concentrate are so good, it’s unreal. Forget powdery bouillon cubes, this stuff is FOR REAL. Only downside: you need to use 1 packet for every 1 cup of water, so you go through your supply fast. I need to go back and buy out the shelf at Trader Joes. Maybe it’s the pregnancy, but this stuff is awesome:

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