Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lentils: The Ugly Best Friend Of Cooking

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.

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