Winter Vegetable and Lentil Stew
We’re still busy, the weather is giving me a rough time and I’m not feeling well – so I’m still looking for uncomplicated, warm, cozy meals (that lend themselves to reheating.) I got rutabagas and parsnips from Greenmarket, and I love them with lentils – sweet, earthy flavors that blend well, to my taste – so made a good pot of root vegetable and lentil stew.
This time, I decided to cook the lentils on the side, and add them towards the end, so first I rinsed 2 cups of lentils and put them with water to cook. Other beans would work well, too (though they’d take longer to cook – but you could add canned beans at the point when I add the lentils.) I particularly like this flavor combination, though.
And I had some ground beef, and decided to add that, for the beefy taste and a slight protein boost. I only used 1/4 of a pound, though – you can either use more, or leave it out all together, if you prefer – each will be slightly different, but both variations will be good.
I broke up the meat and dropped it into a heated pan. I stirred it and broke it up further, and let it brown. Then, as it released a little fat, I added some chopped onion and hot pepper. Now – amounts… I usually say “A small onion” because that’s what makes sense in a recipe – but I don’t always have a small onion – this was actually 1/4 of a rather large onion… (I put the other pieces in a vegetable keeper, and it works quite well.) Equally, I’ll write “1-2 hot peppers, chopped” because that’s what makes sense to someone just looking at the recipe – but what I used was a chunk of my pre-sauteed frozen peppers from last summer – I don’t have a fresh raw pepper at this time of year. Then, as they all cooked, I also added a teaspoon of ground cumin, which again goes very well with lentils.
Then the vegetables. I peeled the parsnip – in theory, I could just scrub it, like a carrot – but this one the skin seemed a bit tough and dry, so I used a swivel blade peeler, then cut it up. Rutabagas definitely need peeling – if you got it from a supermarket it’s probably waxed, of course, and even if you bought it unwaxed the skin is very tough. I cut half of it, and decided that was enough – put the rest away in a vegetable keeper. Carrots would have worked, too.
I stirred the cubed vegetables in with the meat and onion mixture, and then added a cup of vegetable broth. (In this case, I actually added a cup of water and a spoonful of Vegetable Base… If I’d had chicken broth handy I probably would have used it.) If the broth had no salt, I’d add a pinch of that. Then I set it on a low simmer for about half an hour.
When the vegetables were soft, and the lentils were fully cooked, I spooned the lentils into the pan. Then I cut up – well, one of my “chunks” of cabbage, but this time I remembered to weigh it – 3/4 of a pound. I stirred it in, raised the heat a little, and covered the pan – about five minutes , until the cabbage was cooked. (You might prefer 10 minutes…)
And there we had it. Dinner – and two lunches… once just reheated, and once thinned with broth into soup. Nothing fancy, but a solid, warming, good December meal.
A comforting, warming root vegetable and lentil stew, with sweet, earthy flavors - cheering on a cold, wet day.
20 minPrep Time
40 minCook Time
1 hrTotal Time
- 2 c lentils, cooked
- 4 oz ground beef (opt.)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1-2 hot peppers, chopped
- 1 t ground cumin
- 1 large parsnip, peeled and cubed
- 1/2 rutabaga, peeled and cubed
- 1 c broth
- 3/4 pound cabbage, chopped
- Cook the lentils.
- Break up meat and drop it into a hot pan. Stir to crumble and brown. Add onion, and peppers, and saute until soft. (If you choose to omit meat, use a little oil in the pan.) Add cumin, stir.
- Once meat is brown and onion and pepper is soft, add the cubed vegetables and broth. Stir, cover, and simmer half an hour.
- Stir the lentils into the vegetable mixture. Add the cabbage, stir it in, cover the pan and cook 5-10 minutes, until done to taste.