I had a coffee with my friend’s mum from Crete at the start of our lent and she was making plain lentils in a tomato sauce. I straddled what she said with a classical French sauce of tomato, celery, onion and carrots and this simple but very tasty lentil stew evolved.
A simple lentil dish that can be enjoyed on its own served with a chunk of bread or an accompaniment. The classic marriage of carrots, onions and celery with the flavour of pepper and bay leaves makes a shortlist of ingredients taste wonderful.
The lentil stew recipe is one to make and enjoy on the day, 150g fed myself and my hubby for dinner and the next day I chopped and fried a couple of courgettes and aubergine and we made the leftover lentil stew with a curry sauce with my son. The lentils were very tasty cold, I tried a teaspoonful before making the curry.
A burrito filling with a teaspoon each of cumin, coriander, paprika and chilli
I told my son that when he goes off to uni, this would be a great economical dish, that he can enjoy for a few days in different ways.
- 2 red onions
- 2 celery stalks, finely diced
- 2 carrots, finely diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons crushed garlic
- 150g dried Puy lentils (or no soak lentils)
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 100ml wine red or white (optional)
- 500ml tomato passata
- 100ml water plus a little more if needed while cooking
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- In a pot fry the onions, celery, carrots, bay leaves and garlic on slow heat with a lid on for 8-10 minutes.
- Stirring often and until the vegetables have softened but not taken colour.
- Add the tomato paste and stir until it separates and releases its oil.
- Pour in the wine if using and mix well.
- Add the water and tomato passata then stir, then simmer for as long as the cooking instructions say on the packet of lentils you have chosen.
- Usually 40 mins -1 hour.
- I like the lentils a little softer, so I cooked them for a little longer than is stated on the packet.
You can use any pulses in this recipe, pre-soak if stated on the packet, rinse and cook as you would for the lentils.