Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Stewed Lentils and Tomatoes, aka, Little Man's Favorite!

I really, really try to be as healthy as possible but I have to say, I really go off the rails sometimes. Unfortunately, tonight was one of those nights. We were in Whole Foods and my little man managed to eat his way through the store. One clarification here, I am talking about eating the samples that they give out as a taste test and no, I do not go through the aisles ripping packages of food open. Anyway, so when we were walking out he said, "Mommy, can we come back and have dinner at the store again?" Eating my way through the aisles has served as my lunch on more than a few occasions but I feel a little guilty that the little tyke is learning this at the age of 4.

The good news is that the majority of the time I do manage to get healthy stuff into my kid. To that end, this recipe rocks it in nutritious food that the little man will eat; seriously, he devours this stuff like candy. There are only two teaspoons of olive oil and the rest is all lentils and vegetables which also makes it a great vegetarian dish. One note is that I have been serving this to T since he was about 2 years old so maybe he just likes it because it is familiar. In other words, I can't guarantee all kids will eat this up like mine but, really, what have you got to lose? Give it a try and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa at Home

2 teaspoons good olive oil
2 cups large-diced yellow onions (2 onions)
2 cups large-diced carrots (3 to 4 carrots)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 gloves)
1 (28-ounce) crushed tomatoes
1 cup Du Puy French green lentils (7 ounces)
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 teaspoons mild curry powder
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons kosher slat
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon good sherry vinegar

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and the carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. Add the garlic and cook for one minute more.

Meanwhile, place the canned plum tomatoes, including the juice, in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse several times until the tomatoes are coarsely chopped. Rinse and pick over the lentils to make sure there are no stones in the package.

Add the tomatoes, lentils, broth, curry powder, thyme, salt and pepper to the pan. Raise the heat to bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer covered for about 40 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Check occasionally to be sure the liquid is still simmering. Remove from the heat and allow the lentils to sit covered for another 10 minutes. Add the vinegar, season to taste and serve hot.

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