The lentils and potato in this stew create a hearty base, while the lemon, mint, and feta add brightness and lots of flavor. A bit of spinach adds more lovely green color, and more nutrients. Based on a recipe in the AMA cookbook.
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 cups dried brown lentils
- 1 1/2 pounds red-skinned potatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 pound torn fresh spinach leaves or 1 package (10 ounces) thawed frozen spinach
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
- salt to taste
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
- 4 ounces (about 1 cup) crumbled feta cheese
- Heat the oil in a dutch oven. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the broth and lentils. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook until the lentils and potatoes are both tender, about 15 minutes longer.
- Stir in the spinach and simmer, covered, until the spinach wilts and becomes tender, about 4 minutes. Add more liquid if needed to maintain a stewlike consistency.
- Stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, cayenne, salt to taste, and mint. Sprinkle with the crumbled feta before serving.
I used 4 quite large garlic cloves, and low-salt bouillon cubes instead of vegetable broth. I added salt with the lentils, rather than waiting until they were cooked. I couldn’t find red-skinned potatoes so I used regular white-skinned potatoes. They were a bit large so my potato slices ended up a little too big. I cut the largest ones in half. I used frozen, unthawed finely chopped spinach and just let it unthaw in the stew. I added the feta cheese to the dish with the lemon juice and mint.
The stew came out quite tasty. The amount of lemon and feta and mint were all perfect. I liked how you couldn’t tell what was chopped spinach and what was the mint. The many flecks of green made the stew quite attractive, and the potato slices provided nice textural and visual contrast. Unfortunately, my potatoes weren’t all equally submerged in the stew and some of them weren’t really cooked through all the way. If you have a wide dutch oven, probably you should stir the stew a few times to make sure the potatoes all cook evenly.
Update April 2011: I made this again with red-skinned potatoes, but I don’t think it actually makes a difference. White potatoes tasted the same. If you follow the instructions carefully the potatoes end up totally falling apart by the time the lentils are cooked. Then the skins come off and get kind of stringy. So I’d suggest either adding the potatoes later or peeling them. I used 1 tsp. of salt and it seemed to be the right amount.
According to the cookbook the recipe makes 6 servings and each serving has 431 calories. My version made about 9 cups and according to my own calculations each 1.5 cup serving has about 376 calories. I’m not sure why there’s a discrepancy. Here’s the stats as I calculate them. The dish is 20% fat, 59% carbs, and 21% protein.
Serving size: 1.5 cups
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