Weekly Recipe #131: Mexican Lentil Stew

by Jessica Lahrs, Client Services Associate and volunteer St. Joseph Worker. She’s a graduate from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.

I found this stew on a budget recipes website. I adore making soups and stews because they are easily adaptable to whatever you have in your cupboard. This recipe yields a lot of product so be warned! You might want to cut it back if you do not like a lot of leftovers. I also paired it with a leftover baguette baked at Open Arms. It was perfect for soaking up the left over broth. Tortilla chips also go perfect with this dish.

Photo by Jessica Lahrs

Mexican Lentil Stew

Adapted from Budget Bytes

(12 servings)

Ingredients:

2 cups dry red lentils (brown works too)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
6 stalks celery, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 large carrots, finely chopped
1 cup of corn
Two 14.5 oz. cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
4 cups vegetable broth
¼ tsp each paprika and cumin
1 tsp each chili powder
10-15 dashes hot sauce
2 medium limes
1 bunch cilantro
* Vegetables can be swapped for whatever you have. I added in the corn and carrots on my own because we had them in the house.

Instructions:

1. In a medium pot, bring the 2 cups of lentils and 4 cups of water to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn off the heat and let sit with a lid on for about 20 minutes.
2. While the lentils are cooking, begin the stew. Finely dice the onions and cook over medium heat in 2 Tbsp of olive oil. While the onions begin to cook, finely dice the garlic and add to the pot.
3. While the onions and garlic cook, finely chop the celery and then add to the pot. Cook the onions, garlic and celery until they are soft but not brown.
4. Once the onions, garlic and celery are soft, add the cans of diced tomatoes, carrots, corn, vegetable broth, paprika, cumin, chili powder and the hot sauce. Continue to cook over medium heat until hot.
5. At this point, the lentils should have absorbed the water and become soft. Add the lentils and any remaining water to the soup mixture. Stir well.
6. Once the entire mixture is hot, add a handful of chopped cilantro and season (hot sauce or salt and paper) to taste.
7. Cook the stew until the carrots are soft. The cooking time can vary with your taste and texture preferences.
8. Add the juice of the limes to the pot or serve the bowls of stew with a wedge of lime. (I did both because I love the hint of lime in food.)

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