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mexican-lentil-stew recipe

Date:    Tue, 16 Nov 93 23:14:03 PST
 From:    mrum@firebug.Berkeley.EDU (Marc Rumminger)
 adapted from "Fields of Greens", by Annie Sommerville
 1 1/2 cups brown lentils
 4 cups cold water
 1 bay leaf
 2 fresh sage leaves (or 1/2 t. dry)
 1 fresh oregano or marjoram sprig (or 1 t. dry)
 1 head of garlic
 24 ounces canned tomatoes with juice
 1/2 cup water
 1 red onion, diced
 1 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted and ground *
 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, toasted *
 1 small carrot, diced
 1 small red or yellow bell pepper, diced
 3 new potatoes, preferably roasted, cut in eights
 Chili powder to taste
 1/2 teaspoon Chipotle Chili puree **
 1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro (optional)
 Put the lentils, water, bay leaf, sage, and oregano or marjoram
 in a soup pot.  Bring the water to a boil, then turn down to
 a simmer.  Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the lentils are
 tender.  Remove the bay leaf.
 While the lentils are cooking, preheat the oven to 350 F.  Put
 the head of garlic on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes.
 After it has cooled, squeeze the garlic out of the skin and into
 a food processor or blender.  Puree with the tomatoes and juice.
 Set aside.
 Put the 1/4 cup water in a skillet or large saucepan and turn
 the heat to medium.  Add the onion, the cumin and oregano.
 Cook until soft.  Add the carrot and red pepper and cook until
 tender.  Add chili puree, the potatoes, and the tomato-garlic 
 puree and cook for 10 minutes at medium-low heat.
 Combine the lentils and liquid with the vegetables.  Cook over
 low heat for 30 minutes, covered.  Test for salt and chili flavor.
 If not hot enough, add some chili powder.  Just before serving,
 sprinkle the cilantro on top (if desired).
 *   Toasting herbs and spices:  Use a small and heavy skillet.  
     Place the herb or spice in the skillet over low heat.  Shake
     the skillet until the aroma of the herb or spice is released.
     Be careful not to burn them.  Then grind the spice if necessary.
 **  Chipotle chilies are jalapenos that have been smoked and
     dried.  They are pretty hard to find dry (Epicurean 
     Specialty, WestWorks, Inc, San Francisco, CA 94121 is
     one company that sells them.  They also sell other dried
     things like mushrooms, chives, etc.), but most Mexican
     groceries carry cans of the chilies packed in sauce.
     Puree a whole can and store the puree in the refrigerator.
     They keep forever.  For Bay Area readers:  You can get
     "fresh" chipotle chilies at the Marin and SF Ferry Plaza
     Farmer's markets sometimes.  I'm not sure which week
     the farm sells at which market, though.
 kwvegan vegan