Saturday, January 16, 2016

Lentil, Sweet Potato, and Kale Stew

This recipe came up on my Pinterest feed and since I'm always looking for stuff that fits my new way of cooking for my husband's diabetes (I've also stopped eating nearly all sugar and carb-y stuff) I gave it a try. For the first go it was surprisingly tasty, and even though my husband confessed that he was a little afraid at first--because, you know, "lentil soup"--he was happy to eat leftovers.

Changes I made include using more chicken broth than in the original recipe, adding a bit of water (not in the original recipe), using more garam masala than in the original recipe, and not using the jarred roasted red peppers. The peppers just seemed weird to me. I also used coarsely chopped baby kale because that's what my store had, so simmering the stew after adding it ended up being too much, and it lost it's gorgeous bright green color. Next time (if I use the baby kale again) I'll add it after turning off the heat and just let the heat of the stew wilt it a bit. I guess I also used double the amount of kale than in the original recipe. Because I love kale. Oh, and I added garlic. Because I love garlic.

There is a note in the original recipe that you can try adding curry instead of the garam masala. I think that would also be really good, and you could probably add a variety of different herb combinations for nice variations.

Lentil, Sweet Potato, and Kale Stew (adapted from
printable recipe

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 rib celery, sliced
1 carrot, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 teaspoons garam masala
1 cup green lentils, rinsed well
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup water, if needed
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and 1/2-in diced
2 cups chopped baby kale
salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Heat the olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium to medium-low heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables start to brown a bit, 8-10 minutes. Add the garam masala and cook for another 3-5 minutes.

2. Add the lentils and chicken stock, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the sweet potato and simmer an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the lentils and sweet potato are tender. ***This is where you may or may not need the water. Add it in if the stew looks too thick; if there isn't enough liquid the lentils won't cook properly***

3. Stir in the baby kale, remove the pot from the heat, and allow the kale to wilt for about 10 minutes. (If you are using mature kale, simmer for 5-7 minutes.) Season with salt and pepper.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Homemade Refried Black Beans

My last post, Basic Pressure-Cooker Beans, was sort of a "part 1" for this post. You can eat the delicious, healthy black beans you made in your pressure cooker as is, or you can make these homemade refried beans (of course, you can use pinto beans instead, if you want). I like to make my own refried beans for many of the same reasons I like to make my own beans from dry: it costs less, I control how much salt is in them, they have a better flavor, and I don't have to wonder if the can has BPA in it. Also, I can freeze the refried beans so they can be just as convenient as canned from the store.

Note: I use a food processor, but you can also mash them with a potato masher if you want. It will take longer, but it will also work (a good kitchen job for your kids ;)

Homemade Refried Black Beans
printable recipe

1 lb dry black beans
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1. Cook the dry beans in a pressure cooker (method HERE).

2. Drain the cooked and cooled beans, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Combine the drained beans, cumin, chili powder, oregano, garlic powder and onion powder in the bowl of a food processor. Alternately pulse, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and run the processor until the beans are smooth. Add the reserved bean cooking liquid 1 tablespoon at a time to achieve the consistency you want.

Makes about 3 cups of beans.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Basic Pressure-Cooker Beans

I know this picture isn't sexy, but knowing how to have dry beans cooked and ready in less than an hour is very sexy. And useful. (Ok, Some bigger beans might take a little over an hour, but not much more. So still sexy, and still useful ;)

Here are the reasons I like to make my own beans from dry: it costs less, I control how much salt is in them, they have a better flavor and texture, dry beans last a long time (read "forever") in my pantry, and I don't have to wonder if the can has BPA in it. Also, I can freeze the cooked beans--whole or processed smooth--so they can be just as convenient as canned beans from the store.

Basic Pressure-Cooker Beans
printable recipe

1 lb dry beans
2 quarts water
1 tablespoon salt

1. Combine the dry beans, water, and salt in your pressure cooker; put on the lid and lock it down.

2. Bring to high pressure following the instructions for your unit, reduce the heat to maintain the pressure, and cook for 45-55 minutes. Let the pressure come down on it's own. Voila! Cooked beans.

Makes about 7 cups cooked beans.
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