Lentils Stewed in Tomatoes and Red Wine
From Aube Giroux of the Kitchen Vignettes blog: This hearty lentil stew is a great use of tomatoes for a flavorful meal.
- 4 slices of bacon, cut into small cubes (for vegetarian version, replace with 2 Tbsp butter)
- 2 large celery sticks, thinly sliced
- 1 medium onion, chopped finely (3/4 cup chopped)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 4 large carrots, chopped small
- 2 cups green French Puy lentils (dry lentils, not canned)
- 1 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp cane sugar (or maple syrup)
- 1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes (or 3 cups fresh or frozen chopped tomatoes)
- 4 to 5 cups vegetable or chicken broth (or water)
- 1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, place the olive oil and chopped onions, cooking on medium heat until the onions have softened. Add the bacon to the onions and cook a few more moments, until the bacon starts to sizzle. Add the celery and garlic and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes until everything is just starting to get golden and fragrant.
- Rinse the lentils, drain, and add them into the pot along with all the remaining ingredients including: chopped carrot, red wine, chicken stock, dijon mustard, sugar, tomatoes, and parsley. However, leave the salt out until the stew is fully cooked because to obtain nice tender lentils, salt should always be added at the end of cooking, otherwise they can toughen and harden the lentils as they cook.
- Cook your stew on medium-low heat, covered, for about 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally. Once the lentils and carrots are soft and the flavors in the stew are coming together, add the salt. Start with 1 teaspoon of salt, stir it in, and taste. I find that salting lentils generously brings out their full depth of flavor so don't be afraid to add more salt, just be sure to do it in small increments. If the stew is too thick, you can add a little water too. After salting and adjusting the liquid levels to your taste, cook for another 5 minutes and then serve warm, with slices of crusty bread and a little grated parmesan on top.