Tuesday was a cold sort of day and I felt like a little Autumnal Lentil warmth. I had in mind to make a French-style puy lentil stew that I made a while back (recipe pending) because I loved the nutty texture of the little hard lentils. But when I went to the cupboard, all I had were some red lentils I bought a few weeks ago to make some food for Kazuo. He wasn’t a fan – not ready for that gritty texture I guess – so they were languishing. They would have to do… though they would not really suit the lentil stew recipe I had in mind. So I did some inventing.
Susan at Fat Free Vegan makes frequent use of Liquid Smoke – an ingredient I had never heard of before. But I was grateful to her for the idea, and really happy to have stumbled across it at the supermarket last week. So Tuesday was the day for trying it out. I splashed some into the Beans and Rice I made for dinner and I thought it could become the signature flavour of my lentil dish. I may have been a little heavy handed – and for some of you the quantity might need a little adjusting down, but it was perfect for me. So I created a smoky stew that will do for several more lunches to come and went great with some wholemeal toast.
Smoky Lentil Stew
1 C dried Red Lentils
1 C Vegetable Stock
3 C Water
1 cubed Potato
1 sliced Carrot
1 tin (440g) Chopped Tomatoes (I used onion and garlic flavoured so I could cheat on not adding these things)
3 – 4 sliced Mushrooms
3 – 4 sliced stems of Celery
1 T Liquid Smoke
Pre-cook the potato and carrot together in water – either in microwave for 4 – 5mins or for 10mins in a saucepan on the stove.
Saute the remaining vegetables in olive oil, add some dried herbs and then the potato & carrot.
After everything is softened, add the Liquid Smoke and saute a little more.
Then add the dry lentils and the tomatoes and stock.
Stir for a bit and finally add all the water.
Keep on a moderate/high heat and simmer (adding more water if necessary) for 20 – 25mins.
Take off the heat and let stand for 10mins – then gobble it down with some crusty bread or whole wheat toast.