We don’t do many vegetarian dinners in Casa del Wondermutt.  In fact, when I mentioned to the mister that I was making this stew, the first thing he asked was “is it with chicken or pork?” 

But, it’s probably a good thing to do at least one vegetable-based dinner a week, not only for our health but for the planet, as well.  And this meal reminded me of a friend’s favorite saying about mushrooms:  it’s the vegetable that thinks it’s a meat!  So, if you’re reluctant to give up the nice chewiness of a bit of meat, mushrooms at least give you a close proximity to the texture, if not the taste.  And, with the lentils, you have a great source of protein and fiber.

The one thing I will advise you on – when you add the lentil and tomato mixture to the big pile of mushrooms, you’re going to think you need more liquid.  Don’t fall for it – it’s the oldest trick in the book!  The mushrooms will cook down and release some liquid, giving you a nice thick stew without it becoming too soupy.

Mushroom and Lentil Stew

  • couple of glugs of olive oil
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, microplaned
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup Puy lentils
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 lbs mushrooms – mix it up – shiitakes, oyster, portabello, chestnut – and vary how they’re chopped

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the red pepper flakes, onions, celery, and thyme, stirring well and cooking to soften.  Add the garlic and stir, then add the tomatoes, stock, lentils, wine, sugar, bay leaves and tomato paste, mix well, and season to taste.  Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil.  Put the chopped mushrooms in the crock pot, then pour over the lentil mixture and mix.  Cook on low for 8 hours. 

I toasted a couple of lovely pieces of levain, drizzled over some really tasty olive oil, then top with the stew.  If you like, you can top with some parmesan.

warming, tasty and incredibly healthy

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