Sunday, October 12, 2008

Jamaican Lentil Stew

So I've been on the hunt for a nice, healthy autumn-y soup...something rich and creamy and perhaps with some pumpkin. I was poking around on and found this awesome recipe for Jamaican Lentil Stew, which has creamy coconut milk, pumpkin, and lentils. I just finished making a batch of it up and I'm totally blown away--the broth is silky and thick and the ingredients meld wonderfully. I made a few substitutions just based on what I had around, which I put in parentheses.


1 medium onion, minced

2 garlic cloves, pressed

1 inch piece gingerroot, grated

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 teaspoons ground coriander (I didn't have coriander [I know I should!] so I used tangine spices, which included cinnamon, cumin and some other spices I'm forgetting)

1-2 teaspoon ground cumin (adjust according to taste)

1 (13 ounce) can coconut milk (I used lite coconut milk because I am trying to watch my figure, which is to say, I didn't want to feel like I couldn't eat cookies because the coconut milk in my soup was fattening)

4 cups vegetable stock

4 ounces split red lentils, washed and drained (I actually used 8 ounces, or a full cup, because this didnt seem like nearly enough lentils. I also had to use green lentils because thats all the Kroger has)

1 small sweet potato, cut into 1/2 inch chunks

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree

1/2-1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste (optional)

black pepper, to taste


Make a thick paste by mashing the ginger and garlic together with a pestle and mortar or a small bowl and the heel of a wooden spoon (I actually just used the garlic press to press the garlic and the ginger since I have neither mortar nor pestle to my name and it worked fine). Saute the onions in the vegetable oil until theyre transparent, then add the garlic ginger paste and saute for another 2 minutes or so; lower heat and stir constantly to avoid burning the paste. Add the spices and saute for a minute more. Stir in the coconut milk, stock, lentils, sweet potato and pumpkin puree. Simmer over medium-low heat for 40-50 minutes or until sweet potato is soft and almost melting into the stew, stirring occasionally. Before serving, stir in the red curry paste if you are using it or adjust seasoning with black pepper. I'm totally sold on this soup, and I'm looking forward to eating it this week for my lunches.

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