Sunday, December 15, 2013

Warming Lentil with Chicken Stew

If you are looking for a power-packed entree or soup, look no further than the lowly lentil. Lentils are a staple in Middle Eastern and Indian cooking and make a thick, rich and delicious soup or stew. They're also a good source of fiber and magnesium and the quickest legume to cook. Add a crusty bread (GF) and a salad, and this stew makes a whole meal. On a cold winter night, a filling stew like this is perfect nourishment for warming both the body and soul. My recipe is for a Lentil and Chicken Stew, but feel free to omit the chicken and substitute the chicken broth with a vegetable broth to make a vegetarian version.

Lentil and Chicken Stew

Ingredients: Serves 6 to 8
  • 6 skinless chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of ground celery seed
  • 2 teaspoons of ground thyme
  • 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of minced onion
  • 2 stalks of celery sliced
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium sweet potato, diced
  • 4 cups of either chicken or vegetable broth  Note:The Imagine brand is gluten and soy free.
  • 1 cup french or brown lentils, picked through and rinsed  Note: Lentils require no soaking.
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 handfuls of fresh spinach
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes (optional)
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, celery seed and thyme. Add to the pot and cook on each side for about 7 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and allow most of it to evaporate while the chicken finishes cooking. Remove the chicken from the pot and put aside, covering it loosely with foil.
  2. To the pot add the remaining olive oil, minced onion and celery and cook a few minutes until the celery is soft. Then add the carrots and sweet potato, cooking for another 5 minutes.
  3. Add the broth, lentils and bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for 25 minutes. Chop the chicken into bite size pieces. When the lentils are soft and tender, remove the bay leaf and add the chicken and spinach. Cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes to warm the chicken and wilt the spinach. Season to taste with the salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
  4. Ladle into bowls.

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