Moroccan red lentil-bean stew
Updated On: Jan 25 2011 06:07:12 AM EST
Makes 5 cups - 4 to 6 servings
In Morocco, this well-loved stew breaks traditional religious fasts. Each household has its own version. This recipe replaces lamb or beef with plenty of white beans and red lentils. It's a satisfying, hearty meal.
If you're unable to find red lentils, brown lentils can be substituted. See the Variation for changes in cooking time.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon crushed saffron threads
1 tablespoon hot water
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
6 cups hot canned chicken broth or vegetable stock (prepare using stock concentrate, cubes, or powder), divided
One 15-ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup dried red lentils
½ cup uncooked basmati rice
1 tomato, cut into ½-inch cubes
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Few drops of Tabasco sauce, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Sprigs of fresh cilantro for garnish
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix the saffron with the hot water; set aside.
Add the curry powder, cumin, rosemary, and fennel seeds to the Dutch oven; stir for about 30 seconds. Stir in the saffron-water mixture and the vegetable stock, beans, lentils, and rice. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat; cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils and rice are tender, about 30 minutes. Stir in the tomato, cilantro, and tomato paste. Season to taste.
Garnish servings with sprigs of fresh cilantro.
This stew will keep for up to 5 days in a covered container in the refrigerator. When reheating, stir in chicken broth, vegetable stock, or water to thin as desired.
Substitute brown lentils for the red lentils; increase the cooking time to about 35 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.
Paulette Mitchell, a culinary instructor, television personality, spokesperson, freelance food writer, and the award-winning author of 13 cookbooks, is known internationally for her quick-to-prepare recipes with gourmet flair. Paulette's most recently published cookbook is "The Complete 15-Minute Gourmet: Creative Cuisine Made Fast and Fresh." She is also the author of "A Beautiful Bowl of Soup" and "The Spirited Vegetarian," which was voted "Best Book in the World on Cooking with Wine" at the 2005 Gourmand World Media Awards. Paulette says that international travel is her favorite source of culinary inspiration.