Saturday, November 22, 2014

Lentil Chili with Fresh Garnish

Lentils usually come to my mind as a comfort food, some time in cold January. But winter weather has surprised us again this year so I decided to make a lentil dish to warm up.

This time, it is a chili style lentil dish coming from South American tradition. This basic recipe is quite similar to all lentil dishes. It is cooked rather long with vegetables and many spices, as often lentil is. But what makes it different and interesting is the garnish that it is served with. Tomatoes and fresh herbs make a nice contrast to well cooked and spicy lentils.

I used regular lentils for this recipe but if you have French, smaller and more green, the dish will be equally tasty but even nicer in presentation.

Lentil Chili

2 cups lentils, washed,
32 oz of chicken or vegetable broth,
1 onion, chopped,
3 garlic cloves, minced,
1 carrot peeled and cut into small cubes,
2 celery sticks sliced,
1 red bell pepper cut into small cubes,
2 jalapeno chili peppers, seeded and finely chopped,
4 tbsp olive oil,
1 tsp sea salt,
1/2 tsp black pepper,
1 tbsp light brown sugar,
1 tbsp paprika,
2 tsp ground cumin,
1 tsp. dried mustard,
2 tsp dried oregano,
1 tsp dried thyme,
1 bay leaf.

1 cup small tomatoes cut in quarters,
1/2 cup chopped cilantro,
1/2 cup sliced spring onions,
1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt.

1. In a large heavy duty pot heat the oil. Add chopped onion, garlic, celery, carrot, bell pepper, jalapeno and fry, stirring often for about 6 minutes, until soft.
2. In a small bowl mix together salt, pepper, sugar, paprika, cumin, mustard, oregano, and thyme.

Add them to the vegetables and fry together for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

3. Add lentil, bay leaf and broth. Bring to boil, turn down the heat to low, cover and let simmer for about an hour, until lentil becomes soft. You may add extra broth or water if it evaporates too fast and lentil is still too hard.

4. When lentil is soft, turn off the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes. In the meantime cut tomatoes and fresh herbs.

Serve accompanied by tomatoes with herbs and sour cream.

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