Another brilliant showing by my friend, Nigel Slater ... this, a perfect stew for a cold, raw day when all you want to do is curl on the couch and let the stove and a heavy pot do the trick. The tomatoes are actually a riff on Diana Henry's roasted tomatoes sans bread crumbs and with Nigel's cinnamon-spiced almonds.
SB was skeptical when I told him that his stew was being topped with these sweet red beauties and cinnamon ("Cinnamon ?!?") toasted nuts. He ended up cleaning them up and backing down on his Yankee cynicism.
This is one to try, folks ... weekend's coming and this dinner came together in a little over an hour. You could be having fun in the snow (or NOT!), puttering at afternoon projects, or just snuggling up with a good book and glass of wine and you can still have a killer supper to plop in a bowl at a reasonable hour ... just sayin'.
Here's how I did it.
Nigel's and Susan's Lentil Stew for Two
3 tbsp. olive oil plus some for drizzling on the tomatoes
2 stalks celery with the leaves, small dice
1 medium sized onion, small chop
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, medium chop
1 small turnip, small chop
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs rosemary
2 links sweet sausage, cut into one-inch chunks
1 ¼ c. lentils
4 c. strong chicken broth
Kosher salt (two pinches)
2 large handfuls cherry tomatoes, washed and halved
1 tsp. honey
½ c. whole almonds, toasted with a generous pinch of cinnamon
Making the Dish:
1. Heat a heavy Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and the celery and onions. Stir to coat with the oil and cook to a glisten.
2. Add the carrots, turnips, and garlic. Stir everything together and continue cooking until the turnips and carrots begin to brown just a bit.
3. Add the sausage chunks, the herbs and brown the sausage up a bit.
4. Rinse the lentils and drain well. Add and stir everything together. Add the chicken broth and bring it to a boil.
5. Add some salt and black pepper and cover the pot. Lower the heat to a low simmer and let the lentils cook for about 45 minutes, cracking the lid on the pot after 30 minutes and tasting the lentils now and then to judge 'the bite'.
6. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375° F. Lay the tomatoes in a glass pan split side up. Drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle liberally with Kosher salt and black pepper. Pop in the oven and roast for 20 minutes.
Then, drizzle the honey over top and continue roasting for another 10 to 15 minutes.
7. While the tomatoes roast,toast the almonds in a small fry pan with the cinnamon. When they are toasted and aromatic, turn them into the tomatoes and toss everything together to distribute the cinnamon and honey .
8. To serve, ladle a generous serving of the lentils into a bowl and top with the tomato/almond mix and the juices from the pan.
Note: I use low-sodium chicken broth, so my salt is adjusted. You should pay attention to your salt measurements. It depends on what type of broth you use ... know what I mean?