We actually made this smokey red lentil stew last week for Halloween, as part of the Orange-and-Black-themed dinner. We didn’t have any recipe to follow – we pretty much just made it up as we went along based on the ingredients we had on hand. Here’s our basic process of creating this stellar warm dish:
We looked in the fridge and found some onion, garlic, cilantro, and a bag of bell peppers that we had roasted and forgot about. Oops. We went to the pantry and pulled out a unopened bag of red lentils and a box of Trader Joe’s low-sodium vegetable broth (our favorite one, by the way). From the spice cabinet we grabbed the smoked paprika (hence the recipe title), ground cumin, sea salt, and black pepper. A little bit of this, a little bit of that, cook, cook, cook and taste. That’s when we decided it needed some acid and sweetness for balance. Aha! An orange! We quickly peeled and chopped it and added it to the mix. Then we opened the fridge to peruse our selection of vinegars and decided that the Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar would be perfect. Pour, stir, taste. Stir in the chopped cilantro (you can use thyme if you are not a cilantro fan). Taste again for seasoning and Done! Delish! You can turn this stew into a soup by adding another cup or two of broth.
- 1 roasted orange bell pepper
- ½ tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- ½ onion (yellow or white), chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (or 2 tbs. prepared minced garlic in the jar)
- Smoked paprika
- Ground cumin
- Sea salt
- Cracked black pepper
- 1 cup red lentils
- 2 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or chicken broth
- 1 orange, peeled and cut into16-20 pieces
- 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 tbs. orange Muscat champagne vinegar (Trader Joe’s) or apple cider vinegar
- Place orange bell pepper over an open flame and blacken on all sides. Then place in a brown paper bag or plastic zip top bag and seal. Let sit 15 minutes; remove from bag and peel off charred skin. Slice pepper open and remove seeds. Chop pepper and set aside.
- Heat a pot over medium-high heat and add ½ tbs. extra virgin olive oil. When hot add the onion and sauté 5 minutes; add the garlic, 1 tsp. smoked paprika, 1 tsp. ground cumin, 1/8 tsp. sea salt, and ¼ tsp. cracked black pepper; sauté for 2 minutes. Add the lentils and bell peppers and toss to coat. Add the broth and bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook partially covered until the lentils are tender.
- Add the oranges, cilantro, and vinegar and cook 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.