Lentils with Browned Onions and Veggies

One of the reasons this recipe is so delicious is the browned onions, and a little white wine doesn’t hurt!  It can be a vegetarian main, or a side dish to just about anything.  Salmon worked really well as a pairing for this one, but chicken or just a salad would be great too.  I made this a while ago, but I’m going to make it again this week because it’s one of my new favourites.

I found the recipe on this site.  I made a few changes, such as browning the onions rather than cooking until translucent, I used white wine in place of some of the chicken stock, and I didn’t add the agave nectar that the recipe called for.  The blogger says that both salmon and lentils help de-stress and balance moods, and provides omega-3 and magnesium.  I sure felt happy after eating it, maybe just because it tasted so good.

What you need:

2 cups lentils (french if you have them; I didn’t so I just used green lentils)

1/4 cup olive oil

1 large sweet onion, chopped

2 leeks, sliced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

4 carrots, sliced

3 stalks celery, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or 1/2 teaspoon dried

1 cup homemade chicken stock, or vegetable stock for vegetarians (or 1 & 1/2 if you’re not using the wine)

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

salt and pepper

What you do:

1.  Put the lentils into a bowl and cover them with boiling water.  Let this sit for about 15 minutes while you prepare the onions.

2.  Heat the oil in a large frying pan or a pot, then add the onions.  Let them cook on medium low heat, stirring, until they begin to brown.

3.  Add the leeks, and thyme to the onions, cooking for about 10 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes.

4.  Drain the lentils, then add them to the onion mixture, along with the carrots, celery, soup stock, wine and tomato paste.  Cook, covered, over low heat for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.  Then add the wine vinegar, and you’re all set.

It’s also good served with a dollop of plain yogurt!

Fantastic Chicken Stew

In honour of the rare mid-April snowfall we experienced in Vancouver today, I’m posting this fabulous chicken stew recipe. It’s not too hard to make, and it’s full of flavour.  I’ve adapted a recipe for veal stew from a Western Living cookbook to make this.  Oh, and it’s so tasty if you use homemade stock – it’s pretty much vital to the flavour, so plan ahead and make some stock !

What you need:

2 tablespoons olive oil

4-6 chicken thighs, bone-in & skin removed

1 onion, chopped roughly

a cup or two of button mushrooms, halved

4 cloves garlic, finely diced

3 cups chicken stock

1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped finely

1 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons  flour

5-6 small potatoes, chopped in half

4-5 carrots, cut into rounds

1 medium-sized zucchini, cut into rounds

salt and pepper to taste

What you do:

1. Heat a large pot to medium-high heat and add one tablespoon of olive oil, then add the onions. After about five minutes add the mushrooms.  Saute until browned, then remove from the pot.

2. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pot, then add the chicken and cook until browned on each side.  Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes. Add the chicken stock and cook, covered, for about 45 minutes.

3. Combine the wine and flour, then stir it into the pot. Add the potatoes, carrots, and sautéed mushrooms and onions. Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat, cover and cook for 20 minutes.

4. Add the zucchini and cook for about 15 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

I like to eat this all on its own, but it would be great served with a crusty bread.

Brown Rice Lentils with Salsa

My mom gave me this recipe many years ago, and it was an old faithful of mine for a long time, especially when I was looking for something economical, healthy, and still yummy.  I’ve modified the original recipe only by adding more veggies.  It’s pretty easy to make!  Most of the time you need for this one is cooking time – you can be done in just over an hour, including 45-50 minutes of cooking time.

What you need:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

3-4 carrots, chopped

8-10 mushrooms, sliced

1 teaspoon soy sauce

3/4 cup brown lentils, dry

1 cup brown rice

3 cups water or broth

tomato salsa, to serve

What you do:

1.  Heat a large pot to medium heat, and add the chopped onion once the oil is hot.  Let it cook for a few minutes, stirring from time to time, until slightly browned.

2.  Add the garlic, mushrooms and carrot, cooking for a few minutes.

3.  Add soy sauce, lentils, rice and water.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and cook 45 minutes with a lid on.

4.  If it’s still a little watery at the end of the cooking time, just turn the heat up a little and cook it off.

5.  Serve with salsa, and you’re ready to go!

How to Make a Beautiful Veggie Platter

Okay, so you’ve agreed to bring veggies and dip to the potluck . . . but it sound so boring.  Here’s how I like to make my platter look more interesting.

The main things to keep in mind are colour and layout.  I like to separate the colours, so I this time I started  with the green, laying down a few sections of cucumbers and peas.  Then I filled the sections in with the other colours.  I kept most of the veggies the same length, so they all fit on the platter.

I had some radishes, so I placed them around the centre to make it more interesting, and added a few nasturtiums.  Click for links to sites about edible flowers here and here.

I like to make yogurt dips because the veggie platter is supposed to be one of the healthy dishes.  I just add some herbs or spices and a touch of salt.  My favourite is fresh dill.  I keep it chopped up in the freezer so I can just grab a little when I need it.  I also like to add a little curry powder to yogurt – really simple!