Tuesday, March 17, 2009

High Noon At The Lentil Saloon

This is my favorite thing to happen to lentils since daal. Growing up in a small town, well shoot, we didn't tamper much with legumes and the like. I was craving the flavors of cumin, tomato and oregano, though I've honestly never been a big fan of the usual suspects in chili (though I stand by my Sweet Potato Chili recipe). Canned kidney an pinto beans, though endlessly convenient, always come with a metallic mask of flavor.  I had the idea to make a pot of chili with lentils filling in as the beans, and after poking around a little on the interwebs, I found out that even country folk have a place for lentils in their kitchens. This big ol' pot sustained me through a murderous stretch of work. I ate it every night when I get home, and yes, even took some in tupperware containers for dinner during night shifts, sustaining the bemused grins of my coworkers. But hell, I'm proud to still be the girl who brings her own lunch.

Lentil Chili

1 cup lentils (I used black, but green, brown, beluga - all the same and delicious here)
3 cups water
1 onion, diced
1 or 2 carrots, chopped
a couple stalks of celery, chopped (including the leaves if they're still attached)
4 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
pinch of sea salt
splash of olive oil

Heat the olive oil over medium in a big ol' pot. Add the onion and saute until softened and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the carrots and celery and cook for about five minutes, until the carrot starts to soften. Add the lentils, water, diced tomato, chili powder, and cumin. Crank the heat up and bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally so the lentils don't stick. Season with a pit of salt and be very happy. Makes a good 6 bowls.


Michelle said...

Hey, that looks good! I'd throw over some quinoa maybe!

If you are interested, I'm starting some new stuff over here. You are local, would love to meet you! http://findyourbalancehealth.com/sundaycookingclub

Chris @ Beyond Ramen said...

Lentils have always been so boring to me given their mushy texture and usually bland flavor. While this might not do much for the texture, I'm really excited to try this given all those spices!