Friday, March 21, 2008
The Many Flavors of... Brown?
I've known I was going to post about this stew for a while, I just had to reconcile myself to revealing its, er, lack of aesthetics to the world. You see, this stew is brown. I'm not talking about the kind of "brown" where you have barley, or maybe brown rice, mixed in with other colors... No, this stew manages to incorporate even non-brown ingredients and still turn out a big bowl of brown as an end-product. It's just brown. And mushy.
By now, you're probably contemplating wandering off in search of something literally more colorful, but before you do, let me at least tell you a little bit more about what goes into this very brown stew that Zach and I had for supper two nights in a row, and then for lunch every day for a week, without complaining one bit.
Earthy, hearty lentils. Crisp, slightly tangy cabbage. Smooth, delicate arborio rice. The heady aroma of cumin. Fiery, smoky red pepper. The luscious softness of sour cream.
Come on. Fill your bowl with hearty, comforting, rapturously smooth sustenance. So it happens to be brown...
Brown Lentil Sustenance Stew
2 cups arborio rice
1 T olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1 cup shredded carrots
3 gloves garlic, minced
2 tsp cumin
1 bay leaf
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
8 cups vegetable broth, plus more if necessary or desired
1 cup brown lentils
5 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup low fat sour cream (optional - you can leave out the sour cream if you'd like the stew to be vegan - it's delicious with or without the sour cream)
~ Cook the rice according to package directions.
~ Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Saute the onions and carrots until the onions are transparent.
~ Add the garlic, bay leaf, cumin, and red pepper, and saute for 30 more seconds.
~ Add the broth and lentils, and simmer until the lentils are soft, adding more water if necessary - around 30 minutes.
~ Stir in the rice and cabbage, and cook until the cabbage is just crisp-tender.
~ Stir in the sour cream, if you like, and serve nice and warm!