Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ethiopian Lentils

Have you seen that Hamburger Helper commercial that claims you can (with the Helper's help)
feed a family of four, with vegetables, for under ten bucks? The last shot before the commercial ends shows a serving bowl of Hamburger Helper, a small bowl of peas, and a glass of milk. Some meal. Lentils are super cheap, high in fibre, iron, folate and protein. Ten bucks of lentils could feed your family of four for about a month. This is a fantastic dish that gets a lot of flavour from cooking the lentils with a whole whack of onions. The vinegar may seem like a weird addition, but I assure you it completes the dish.

- 1 1/2 cup green lentils
- 3 cups water (more if needed)
- 2 large sweet onions, halved and sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 fresh green chile or jalapeno, seeded and minced
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cardamom
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste

1. Rinse lentils then place in a large saucepan with water, onions, garlic, and chile. Bring to bubbling, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 45 mins, until lentils and soft and onions have more or less disintegrated. Stir periodically and add more water if needed.
2. From here, you can add in the remaining ingredients, cook for 10 mins, and serve. However, if you have the time, I like to add in the spices and cook, uncovered, for another 45-60 mins. Green lentils are durable enough to withstand a lot of cooking without falling apart. This way you can cook off some more of the water and slowly make a nice thick stew. Then, stir in vinegar and cook for 10 mins, season to taste, and serve.