Having grown up with lentil stew, and loving it, the thought of a new twist on lentils sounded like a welcome departure to this food 'venturer. And because lentils are inexpensive, cook quickly, make a filling meal, and are incredibly healthy, they offer a great return for those looking for cheaper eats without compromising health.
I love serving this hot stew right over a bowl of baby spinach leaves that will wilt beautifully...talk about healthy!
2 cups lentils, any kind (I used a combination of black and green here)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 large onion diced
3 large cloves garlic, crushed or chopped
3 ribs celery, diced
3 large carrots, diced
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp Curry powder
2 tsp Garam Masala
1 can coconut milk, regular or lowfat
1 cup plain tomato juice or plain canned tomatoes
1 qt water
2-3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 Tbsp flour or potato starch (for thickening)
Rinse lentils and drain. Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add onion, garlic, celery and carrots, with bay leaves and cook until translucent. Do not brown the vegetables. Move the vegetables away from the center of the pot and if needed, add a bit more oil so that the spices do not stick to the pan. Add the curry and Garam Masala, cook for a minute or two to develop the flavors. Add the salt, coconut milk, tomato juice/sauce and water. Simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until the lentils are done.
In a covered jar, measure 1/2 cup water. Add the flour (or potato starch) to the jar, cover tightly and shake them together well until it becomes a "slurry". When lentils are finished cooking, stirring quickly, pour the slurry into the lentils and return to a simmer, continuing to stir, cooking for another minute or two. You can adjust the thickness by either adding more slurry, or adding more water, depending on how thick or thin you like your stew. Adjust the salt and pepper. Enjoy with Naan flat bread, scooped over a salad (my personal favorite), or served over butternut squash.