Lentil Stew

Do you still have ham from the holidays? I do. And I’ve put it in every bean soup known to man. I’ve also made quiche. Fried ham steaks. Made sandwiches. And guess what? It’s STILL NOT GONE! Holy mother of ham.

But the soup has been good. And this stew is great. Since I still had ham to spare (in the freezer, of course) and am working to incorporate new proteins into our diet, this was the perfect Friday night meal. By the time I got around to starting this stew I was beat.

The day started early with the police finding a vagrant in the shed of the vacant house next door to mine. Needless to say, it was not the way I wanted to start the day. It caused a lot of stress to wonder how long he had been there, why he was there, were we in danger at any time? I also decided not to tell the little Bundt. She plays outside after school in the back yard, so it had me pretty freaked out.

I worked all day baking cookies which you’ll see in the Valentine’s post coming up soon. And I handled some everyday business. Took some orders, ran to the store, the usual. Usually, Mr. Bundt turns up around 8pm on Friday, tired and hungry. Often he wants me to meet him in town for dinner. But by 8pm on Friday night I want to be in front of the TV with my friends from Say Yes to the Dress. I do not want to go into town for dinner. Plus, we’re both starving and generally look pretty gross. But this particular Friday, he didn’t roll in until after 9pm. I gave up and ate my stew without him. And I was grateful to have it! With one of the Honey Butter Wheat Rolls it was the perfect hot dinner after a long day.

If you’ve never eaten lentils, do not fear. They’re great. Not super beany. They’re thin so they don’t need to be soaked overnight and they’re not meaty like a larger bean might be. Even if you’re not a bean fan, give these a try.

The recipe is from Cooking Light. I love their recipes and use them a lot. Tasty, healthy meals!

Lentil Stew with Ham and Greens

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups chopped Swiss chard, collard greens, or spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped baking potato
  • 1 cup chopped smoked ham
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Saute the onions and garlic

Heat the oil over medium high heat. I like to use my Dutch oven, but you can use a large soup pan. Sauté the onions and garlic about 5 minutes. Add the broth, lentils, carrots, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and partially cover; reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Starting your lentil stew

Add your greens, diced potato, and ham, and return to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer again for 15 minutes, or until potato is tender. Add the tomatoes, basil, thyme, and pepper. Simmer 10 more minutes.

Lentil stew part 2

I was concerned that the stew would have that unsavory gray color that lentils often lend to things. But with the addition of the vegetables, it turned out to be a pretty bright stew.

FInished Stew

Discard bay leaves. Serve hot with crusty bread.

Has anything crazy happened to you lately? What easy hot meal do you like to serve up at the end of a long day? Have you tried any new ingredients in the new year?

Here’s what I’m going to do with the ham next. Let’s hope to goodness that that’s the end of it!

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