Hearty Lentil Stew

This recipe was first inspired by a dish in last Febuary's Sunset magazine called Lentil Stew with Winter Vegetables. However, since I don't like (some) root vegetables I had to recreate this dish with things I do like. I don't know what it is about turnips and beets but they just taste like dirt to me. Onward with the version I have been enjoying for a year now:

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 cup French green lentils
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 sprigs fresh thyme
3 cups broth/1 cup water - or any combination there of to equal 4 cups
4 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters (if they are too small they will cook too quickly and turn to mush)
1 cup butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes
4 cups stemmed chopped kale
4 medium sized carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
Small handful of green beans, trimmed
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped fine
3 oz. aged goat cheese (such as Chevrot or Bucheron or Humbolt Fog - something sort of firm)

Heat the olive oil in good sized pot over med-high heat. Add onion and cook until translucent (maybe 3 mins). Add garlic, lentils, salt, pepper, thyme, and 4 cups water/broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to med-low.

Add potatoes and squash and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 20 mins.

After your 20 minutes are up add the kale, carrots and green beans. Cover and cook over med-low heat for 10 minutes. Remove lid and pierce carrots to check for doneness. They should not be mushy, firm but easy to bite into. You want some juice in the pot but it should not be soupy. If it is too soupy let it cook for a few minutes without the lid. Now, you can stop and eat it as it is -- very delicious. Do not burn your tongue like I just did though.


Since we are talking about French Lentils here, you may just say in your best French accent, "Chef Drake" (I'm practicing for when I'm a 'real' chef) "Chef Drake, my life is so boring these days. I feel I need more complexity. Can you help me achieve this?" Why certainly! At this point you may remove the pot from the heat and stir in the parsley and the goat cheese. Plate it up immediately with a crusty bread. Enjoy!

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