Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lentil Stew with Ham and Greens

This is a thick, hearty stew, tailor-made for a winter night.

  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 5 cups vegan chicken broth (prepared from Not Chick'n bouillon)
  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups chopped Swiss chard*
  • 1 and 1/2 cups chopped baking potato
  • 1 cup chopped vegan ham (such as Lightlife)
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) drained can diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and garlic; saute for 5 minutes.  Add the chicken broth, lentils, carrot, and bay leaves; bring to a boil, then partially cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.

2. Add the Swiss chard, potato, and ham; return to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Stir in the canned tomatoes, the basil, the thyme, and the black pepper; simmer for a final 10 minutes.  Discard the bay leaves, and sprinkle the stew with the parsley.

Note: because the flavors of this soup - particularly the lentils and ham - are reminiscent of northern European cuisine, serve with wine from a similar region.  A (vegan) dry Riesling from Alsace or Germany marries beautifully with the stew.  All you then need to round out the meal are some French bread rolls and sliced cucumbers drizzled with bottled dressing. 

*Depending what looks freshest at your market, or what your taste buds prefer, you could substitute an equal amount of collard greens or fresh spinach for the Swiss chard.

Nutrition Info:
5 servings (about 1 and 1/2 cups), Calories 320

Tasting Notes:
The smokiness from the vegan ham absolutely infused this broth and the stew in general, resulting in a delicious final product, and intensified the earthiness of the lentils. So yum!  My only complaint is that, once wilted, the Swiss chard felt like an afterthought.  Given the fact that the word 'Greens' is in the stew's title, I would have liked a bit more, and would recommend increasing the amount of whatever greens you choose to use.


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