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Dear Me,

What took you so long to eat lentils? They’re delicious!

Love,

Me

I don’t really have a good reason as to why I’ve never eaten lentils before. It’s not because I’m opposed to them or anything of the sort. I didn’t have a bad experience with them as a kid. It just wasn’t in my recipe repertoire. But lately I’ve been seeing people feature lentil soups and lentil stews on their blogs; they look too good not to try.

I’m also mildly obsessed with using the Dutch oven I got for Christmas. Whenever I find an excuse to use it, I do.

Turkey Sausage and Lentil Stew (Adapted from The Comfort Table by Katie Lee Joel)

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 slices (4 oz) turkey bacon, diced (or real bacon)
  • 1 large onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 4 carrots, diced (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 3 celery stalks, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 bay leaves (optional)
  • 8 oz lentils (1 cup)
  • 1 lb turkey sausage, sliced (or beef sausage)
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped fresh kale
  • 1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes with juice
  • 3 cans low-sodium chicken broth (or 2 cans + 1 can water)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese for topping

Directions:

1. In a Dutch oven or large pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until bacon is crispy, about 8-10 minutes. Remove bacon pieces from pot and drain on paper towels. Set aside for garnishing.

2. Meanwhile, cook the turkey sausage in a large skillet until no longer pink. Set aside.

3. Spray the pot with cooking spray, then add the onion, carrots, celery, and bay leaves to the pot. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook the vegetables, stirring frequently until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

4. Stir in lentils, sausage, and kale. Add the tomatoes, tearing the tomatoes with your fingers as you add them to the pot. Stir in chicken stock, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat (this will take a few minutes). Reduce the heat and simmer for about an hour, covered, until the lentils are tender. Stir and adjust seasonings as needed.

5. Top with Parmesan cheese and bacon bits.

My two cents: As you may have guessed by this point in time, I usually use turkey instead of beef in my dishes. It has a lot less fat than beef and in general is better for you and easier on your stomach (well, at least it’s easier on mine). And I honestly don’t mind the difference in taste, as long as you do it right! The original recipe called for real beef sausage and REAL bacon. So if you are infatuated with all food related to cows and pigs, please use those in this recipe instead. In that case, you don’t have to cook the sausage before you throw it into the pot. But you do with turkey. Pink turkey sausage irks me, so I browned it beforehand.

This dish was a little on the salty side for my taste (even with the low-sodium broth). I’m pretty sensitive to salty things and don’t like things that are overly salty. So¬† next time I make this, I think I’ll swap out one can of chicken broth for 1 can of water. I also think that will make it healthier since there’s already a lot of sodium in the sausage and the bacon.

This may be another surprise to you, but I’ve also never had kale. (Well, at least I’ve never made it–might’ve snuck into dishes at restaurants). But I’m totally in love with it. But I think spinach will work in place of kale if you want to use that.

Overall, totally scrumptious stew. Highly recommended!

Enjoy :)

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