This stew is just a tiny bit famous.
When my husband and I owned a gelato and coffee shop, this was one of our most popular lunch offerings.
I've always loved this stew. My mom got the recipe from Carolyn Leong, a sweet lady from the church we were part of while my dad worked on his doctorate. She recommended it because it's delicious but also easy and inexpensive to make.
The two keys are using the full tablespoon of salt and allowing plenty of time for the stew to simmer.
The original recipe also calls for sprinkling 1-2 tablespoons of flour over the onion and bell pepper while sautéing them. I got out of the habit of doing this because I wanted to offer several gluten-free options at our shop. But it works well if you like a thicker stew.
1 TB olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
(1-2 TB all purpose flour, optional)
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 lb. (approx. 2 cups) brown lentils, picked through and rinsed
1 TB salt
8 c. water
Heat oil on medium in a large pot. Add onions and bell pepper, and sauté until they begin to soften. If desired, sprinkle with flour, stir, and cook until edges just begin to brown.
Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to a low simmer, and cook until lentils are soft and liquid has reduced slightly, about 1 hour.
Serve with crusty bread or herbed focaccia.
Plan to Eat
Finally, I want to give you a quick heads-up about my favorite shortcut for meal planning. Plan to Eat has a fantastic sale every year after Thanksgiving. This year the sale lasts from Monday, November 26 until Sunday, December 2.
I've subscribed to PTE for a few years, and I use it a lot, especially now that their mobile app is up and running beautifully! If you're someone who tends to use the internet as a cookbook, PTE provides a super convenient way to compile and organize your recipes AND automatically generate shopping lists based on the recipes you’ve planned.
Because the sale lasts a whole week, you could even use most of their free seven-day trial and still have time to get in on the discount.
You can find more information here!
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