I have a confession.
I love lentils. I love love LOVE lentils. Brown, greenish, red, yellow (especially yellow!), you name it. Haven't met a lentil I haven't liked.
HOWEVER, holy CRAP are they unattractive. Every thing they are in looks like cat poo., Cat poo of different colors, to be sure, but cat poo all the same. I am not a fan of cats.
There are several stews I make that involve lentils, and I've never blogged about them, never taken their picture. Why? It's because of the ugly. OK - once I did. I took a picture, but I basically put a wig and sunglasses and a big hat on it. First of all, I showed no "process" photos. Then, at the end, I chopped some cilantro, some red bell peppers, and some tomatoes, sprinkled them atop the ugly lentil stew, and then put a glob of sour cream on it as well. It was me trying to take the Ugly Girlfriend out to a good restaurant. You do the best you can to disguise her, and even then, you take her to the 6 o'clock seating -- before all the cool people arrive.
How I wish I could share photos of my latest concoction, but I have Lentil Shame.
Let me tell you, though.
I started with a big pot of water. Into it I dumped the last of my cranberry beans (dried, maybe 2/3 cup), some black-eyed peas (a cup-ish), wheatberries (1/4 cup, dried), some quinoa (maybe 1/3 cup dried), and some lovely, ugly lentils. Yellow. A cup.
It was a gorgeous pile of legume-bean-grain fabulousness. Then I added chicken broth base (similar to bouillon, but better, and like FOUR TIMES as expensive), a cube of chipotle spice, and some fresh ground pepper.
Also? Two carrots, in big chunks, 2 celery ribs, also chunks, and 2 ginormous cloves of garlic from the farmer market. I chopped up the stems of a big handful of cilantro and tossed them in, too. I debated adding spinach, but decided against. Too fussy.
Cookcookcook. Mmmm. Deeelish.
I had to add some more water as it cooked.
Finally? I am TELLING you, it was awesome. I then chopped the rest of the cilantro (maybe 3/4 cup) into the Ugli Stew. Salt and pepper to taste.
It is wonderful. It is healthy! It is yummy and satisfying and tasty. I top it with chopped raw veggies, sour cream, yogurt, or croutons.
And it is frickin' ugly.