03 September 2018

Red Lentils and Peppers

Late summer here and I'm beginning to have a hankering for soups, stews, and slurries, but the reality of all the garden produce that is stacked up on counters and chilling in the fridge cannot be ignored. So this evening super chilled cucumber fast pickle cools the palate between bites of this simple lentil/pepper slurry on a bed of caraway rice.

This is a recipe that comes from Diana Henry's cookbook called pure simple cooking. Perfect for a night when you're busy, but want something that sticks to your ribs, has some good spice, and comes together in less than an hour. I subbed in honey over sugar, Thai chili sauce over a small hot red chili pepper, minced, and left out the yogurt because my small opened package of Greek yogurt looked like a science experiment when I opened it. Dang!

Loved the spicy heat and the fresh cilantro added at the last minute on these lentils! So good!

Diana Henry's Middle Eastern Lentils and Peppers


1/4 c. olive oil
1 leek, white and light green parts, well-washed and cut into thin coins
1 sweet red pepper, seeded and de-veined and cut into thin slices 
1 1/2 tsp cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tbsp. hot sauce ( I use Thai chili sauce)
1 c. red lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 1/4 c. chicken broth 
1- 14 oz. can fire-roasted tomatoes in their juices
1 tsp. honey
1 rounded tbsp. tomato paste
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
a generous handful fresh cilantro, rinsed and roughly chopped

Greek yogurt dollops for serving
Steamed Caraway Basmati rice, for serving the lentils atop

Making the Dish:

1. Heat a heavy pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil, leeks, and red pepper slices and soften them for about 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently.

2. Add the coriander and cumin and stir to coat the vegetables, cook for 2 minutes to bring out the flavor and aromas.

3. Add the hot sauce and lentils and stir to coat the lentils with the juices and spice. Pour in the chicken broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, and pinches of salt and pepper. Stir to break up the tomato paste. 

4. Lower the heat to simmer, partially cover the pot and simmer until the lentils begin to break down - about 20 minutes.

5. While the lentils and peppers cook, steam some basmati rice that has a knob of butter and about a tsp of caraway seed added to the washed rice and water.

6. Chop the cilantro and stir it into the lentils when you put the dish on the table.

7. Serve over a bed of hot rice and have dollops of plain yogurt on the side with cold cucumber pickle (or tzatziki, if you're felling ambitious).

Enjoy ! It's a healthy dish ! You can jve dessert and not feel guilty ! Or not ... 

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