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Most Delicious Lentil Stew

July 16, 2012

I love the excuse to live simply, and a cottage provides just that. At home, I easily get pulled into emailing parents, cleaning rooms, creating lessons, playdates, staring at those old PhD books that don’t get analyzed on their own… the normal everydays. Our new home is the least stressful place I have ever lived, the beautiful yard, breezy sun porch, and large family room all provide me with a retreat, but there is always something else I need to do.

In our sweet cottage, on an island, in a wonderful country, we could only enjoy. No TV. No Internet. Very little cellphone reception. The only thing to do was sit by a fire and read, alone and to each other. At night, we sat outside soaking in the sunshine, forgetting it was 11pm. When it rained, Serafina raced her trucks or watched the animals outside, while I finished embroidery for my best friend’s new baby daughter. We savored the simplicity.

Serafina spent hours in this window watching the animals.

There were lessons I learned in simple cooking. Fresh Bread is worth the work. Fine olive oil and sea salt dramatically improve a meal. Green onions, used widely on the islands, are under-used in the States. Nuts and dried beans, carried over a thousand miles, are a fantastic focus to a meal. You only need a few ingredients to create a feast. A day of hiking enhances the flavor of any dish.

Another very simple part of life, Lentil Stew, seemed to be magnified on the island. Using the rest of our ingredients, I gathered together one of the simplest soups, which turned into the most delicious stew we have ever tasted. Beyond the quality ingredients, I found that slightly burning the bottom of the pan actually added wonderful flavor. So, never be afraid of cooking mistakes. We did not have broth, so I used water, which allowed me to add salt to our personal taste. We didn’t miss the broth. This is the simplest of dishes, which even improves as leftovers the next evening.

Most Delicious Lentil Stew

  • 16 oz bag of green lentils, picked over
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 yellow, chopped
  • 1 can of whole peeled tomatoes, hand crushed
  • 1 tb sea salt
  • 1 tb ground black pepper
  • 4-7 cups of water
  • 5 tb Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided

1. In a large stockpot, saute the onions in 2 tb olive oil.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients and five cups of water. Let simmer for 2 hours, and occasionally stir. Let the lentils absorb the water, and add more if necessary. If the bottom of the pan burns a little, scrape with a wooden spoon and stir in together.

3. Serve warm with bread

 

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