The days post-Christmas have felt like a quiet little limbo inbetween all of the holiday’s excesses and tonight’s champagne filled activities. Reflecting on the last year, I can honestly say that 2014 has been amazing. Off course I still didn’t manage to run at an acceptable pace or a distance that is something to brag about on any social media, I didn’t yet cure my own ham, I am not growing my own vegetables and I definitely did not read every article I bookmarked in my Feedly reader.
Nevertheless, I have felt so incredibly happy this year.This year I moved back home to Amsterdam, I managed to stay and fall in love over and over again, I bought my first place(!), I did a German course, and went on a holiday to Thailand. And next to that, last fall Tuks Kitchen was born. Actually, it always existed, but it now has a camera and a voice, plus: more excuses to cook even more (hi haa!).
Considering cooking, not all dinners are supposed to be liquid, even not when you’re no longer considered supervised by your parents after the holidays. This lentil stew is something that could fit the bill of new year’s resolutions, but is still super satisfying and warming. It all comes down to combining the ingredients (even not much chopping) and letting it all simmer away for one and a half hours. This means that this might still be manageable if you have to drag yourself forward tomorrow. Maybe even easier is making this pan ahead so that you can enjoy this tomorrow.
- 250 grams black good quality lentils, such as Beluga lentils or Le Puy
- 2 cans of chopped tomatoes
- 1 – 2 tablespoons of tomato puree
- 1 tablespoon chopped woody herbs such as rosemary, sage or thyme
- 500 grams of lean minced beef (can be left out for a vegetarian option)
- 1 chopped chili pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried chilipeppers
- 250 grams cherry tomatoes
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1/2 tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 500 milliliters of warm water (in case you have leftover red wine that would be really tasty as well)
This lentil stew is really easy and just needs time after you put all the ingredients together in the pan.
Depending on what is in your vegetable drawer, you can omit or add ingredients. It would for example be really nice to add chopped red peppers or mushrooms to this stew.
I really like to make this stew with minced meat, as it makes it really hearty and filling, and in combination with the lentils a complete meal.
Start of with browning the minced meat thoroughly in a dry pan. I really like to take the time for this (around 10-15 minutes on high heat) and to make sure the meat gets as much colour as possible, as this enhances the flavors immensely.
In case the meat releases a lot of fat, I take the effort to spoon this out of the pan and to discard it.
After that, or in case you don’t use any meet, I add the tomato puree, the garlic, the chili and the herbs. I shortly let this sweat to release its flavours and then add all the other ingredients.
Let it simmer for around an hour until the lentils are cooked through. If you use good quality lentils, you will notice that they don’t fall apart but have a really nice structure to them.