If you live in Minnesota, you know that it is most definitely soup and stew weather. It was below zero on the way to work this morning and during the next two months, that will most likely be a common occurrence. When the weather gets like this I turn to cozy pants, hot tea and stews. That way I can warm up on the outside and from the inside. Believe me – it’s necessary.
During a day off during the Christmas break, I made plans to workout with Meghan (in the middle of the day!) and then join up with Amanda and baby Kaler for lunch. Lunch was back at Meghan’s and we were fortunate enough to have it prepared by Tommy. Remember him? He’s the awesome tree farmer/maple syrup maker/fly-fishermam/recovering engineer/most kind-hearted boyfriend of Meghan. Duh.
We returned to Meghan’s house, we walked in the door and were met with the smell of sweet, hearty curry. Not to mention, a beautifully set table. Thanks Tommy! The stew was perfect after a super tough weight workout. The lentils and garbanzo beans are great sources of protein and when you mix them with some hearty vegetables, spices and some broth? A bowl that will make you and your muscles very happy.
This dish is one that Meghan and Tommy make all the time and I fell in love after one bite. I went home, found the recipe and made it myself two days later. That’s how much I loved it. It’s super simple which is an added bonus; It was a cinch to put together on a weeknight.
I made a number of changes from the orginal recipe because…well…that’s what I tend to do. The major changes included:
- adding carrots (because I had them and I knew they would be perfect).
- utilizing the chard stems. I wouldn’t dare throw them away – they are delicious!
- garlic – I have to put it in everything.
- adding some additional seasoning. I thought mine needed some salt and I really liked the addition of cumin in this dish.
A side note on swiss chard: Have you cooked with it before? It is a favorite in our house, but I’ve come to realize that a lot of people don’t know what it is or what to do with it. This was evident at one of the Christmas gatherings I attended. I brought a winter minestrone (and it was delicious) that had swiss chard in it. Three different people asked me what the “green stuff” was and when I told them it was swiss chard, they said “swiss what?”. I obliged by enlightening them about the world of chard. Swiss chard is a leafy vegetable that is delicate enough to eat raw, but hearty enough to hold up in soups. We have grown it in our garden the past three years and our favorite way to eat is is simply sauteed with some onion, olive oil, salt and pepper (and bacon if we have it). The stems are completely edible, they just need a little more cooking time than the leaves. If you like spinach, I am confident you’ll like swiss chard. Bonus points that it is one of the most nutritous vegetables out there. It’s a great source of Vitamins K, A, E and C, Magnesium, Potassium, Iron and Calcium. Score!
Curried Red Lentil Stew with Swiss Chard
adapted from Bon Appetit
Makes 6 hearty servings
Note: I made my stew pretty thick and I still added additional broth at the end. If you don’t have extra broth to add, water will work just fine.
This stew begs for a slice or chunk of hearty bread. I think pita or naan would also be splendid. I found the flavors only got better as the stew sat in the fridge. I looked forward to the leftovers every day.
Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, chard stems and carrot; sauté until soft and they start to turn color, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Mix in curry powder, cayenne, cumin and salt. Add 6 cups of broth, increase heat and bring to a boil. Add lentils, garbanzos, and chard leaves; reduce heat to medium.
Cover; simmer until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally, about 15-20 minutes. Add broth if needed. Divide stew among bowls. Top with yogurt, if desired.