Golden French Lentil Stew
- Yield: 4 servings
French green lentils hold their shape well and add a lovely, chewy element, but feel free to use green or brown lentils if that’s all you can find. The resulting stew will be thicker, since green and brown lentils break down a bit more.
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, or 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons raw sunflower seeds
- 2cups water
- 2tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow or sweet onion, diced, or 2 leeks, cleaned and thinly sliced
- 4large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 to 1 1/2teaspoon fine sea salt, to taste, plus a couple pinches
- 2medium carrots, diced
- 2stalks celery, diced
- 2teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 1/2teaspoons dried thyme
- 1teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1can (14 oz.) of diced tomatoes, with juices
- 3/4cup uncooked French green lentils, picked over and rinsed
- 4cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 3cups stemmed and chopped Swiss chard or kale leaves
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 to 2teaspoon white wine vinegar, to taste
- Put the cashews in a bowl and cover with a couple of inches of water. Soak for 1 to 2 hours or overnight. (For a quick-soak method, cover with boiling water and soak for 30 to 60 minutes.) Drain and rinse. Transfer the cashews to a high-speed blender along with 1/2 cup of the water. Blend on high until super smooth and creamy in texture. Set the cashew cream aside.
- In a large Dutch oven or stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Stir in the onion, garlic, and a couple pinches of salt, and sauté until the onion is softened, 4 to 6 minutes.
- Stir in the carrots and celery, and cook for another few minutes or so. Stir in the cumin, thyme, and turmeric until combined.
- Add the diced tomatoes with their juices, lentils, broth, and remaining water. Increase the heat to high and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes, until the lentils are tender.
- Stir in the cashew cream and chard. Add salt, pepper, and vinegar to taste. (The vinegar’s role is to add a little bit of brightness to the soup; add a bit at a time and keep tasting, as it can quickly overwhelm.) Cook for a couple of minutes over low-medium heat, until the chard is wilted, and then serve. This stew will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, or you can freeze it for 1 to 2 months (always let it cool completely before storing). The stew will thicken after sitting in the fridge; you can thin it out with a bit of broth when you reheat it, if desired, or simply serve it thick with some crusty bread.
Reprinted from Oh She Glows Every Day by arrangement with Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, APenguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2016, Angela Liddon