Lentil & Chorizo Stew (Spanish Pork and Beans)

A little before my second daughter was born, my husband and I enjoyed a night out, dining at a local bistro. The menu is a French-Mediterranean fusion, serving up a delicious arrangement of dishes that often feature less popular, more unique ingredients. It’s one of those restaurants that we really enjoy eating at, because there is always some new dish or technique that we then try to replicate at home.

One of the tapas that we loved was a plate of stewed lentils, served alongside crispy slices of chorizo with thin slices of garlic. It was savory, warm, and we cleared the plate all the way down to mopping up the broth with bread. It was simple, but a new idea for cooking lentils – one of my all time favorite foods – and I knew I would have to try and make this at home.

After some quick research to help select the best Spanish-inspired spices for my dish, I played around in the kitchen a few times, and finally came up with this recipe. Each time I cooked it, I naturally progressed from the fancier, restaurant-matching presentation, to that one-pot cooking style I love so much (it’s just so much easier!).

This recipe is perfect for those cold days ahead, a warm, stick-to-your-ribs type meal that leaves you full and happy. Since the bulk of your protein and calories is plant-based,  that wonderfully full feeling comes without the nap-inducing effect that can accompany a meat-heavy dish.

Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup of brown lentils

1 white onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 medium carrots, diced

2 chorizo sausage links (4″)

2 bay leaves

1 bunch of collard greens

2 tablespoons smoked paprika

Salt & pepper, to taste

Olive oil

Directions:
1) Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or other large pan (one that has a lid). Add the onion and garlic, sauté until onions are translucent. Add smoked paprika, cook about one minute more, then add 1-cup of water. Mix well, then remove from pot and pour in blender. Blend to a paste and set aside.

2) In same pan, add a little more olive oil, cook thinly sliced chorizo until crispy, remove and set aside. Add carrots and cook until starting to soften. Add lentils, bay leaves, chopped collard greens, 3 cups of water and the paste. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer 45-minutes.

3) Add cooked chorizo, salt and pepper to taste and 1tsp. Smoked paprika if desired (this will increase the smoke and heat, so leave out otherwise.) Serve immediately with toasted ciabatta bread.

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Venison & Sweet Potato Curry

When left to my own devices, down to a few ingredients and a rumbling belly, I tend to gravitate towards dishes with either a Mexican/Latin taste, or something Indian. Making a curry is something I definitely don’t do even close to as good as my local Indian restaurant does, but the warm, spicy flavors are definitely a regular in my own cooking.

This dish was thrown together early one morning. I think the first time I made it, we were expecting a storm with strong winds, and so I decided to do a dump-cooking style dish on our wood stove, this way dinner was something I wouldn’t have to worry about.  Continue reading “Venison & Sweet Potato Curry”

Peach & Blueberry Breakfast Crisp

Blueberry season is under way here in Connecticut, eagerly awaited by my husband and I.  We nearly made it the full year without running out of blueberry jam, finishing the last jar up only about a month ago.

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This year, we picked at a different local farm, enjoying the trip as part of our last family-weekend before our new baby arrives.

In addition to canning more jam, as well as some whole berries in syrup, we froze some of the blueberries, made smoothie packs, and I made two trays of this delicious peach & blueberry crisp. Continue reading “Peach & Blueberry Breakfast Crisp”

Recipe: Swedish Meatballs

Let me preface this recipe by saying: NO, this is not the one with the jelly. There are recipes out there for dishes that include jelly in the meatballs, or served on top, and while it is clearly enjoyed by some, I have to admit I am of the group that shudder at the thought. Blegh.

Anyway, this recipe is relatively quick, is cooked in one pot, and is simply to die for. It’s rich, delicious, creamy, warm and filling – I know, not the type of recipe you’re usually looking for in April! But since Winter refuses to let go here in New England, we are still enjoying our hearty recipes, this one especially. Every time I make it, my husband asks when we will be having it again before his bowl is even empty! Continue reading “Recipe: Swedish Meatballs”

Indian Lentil Chicken Wraps

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This dish was one of those creations that results from an empty fridge. Playing Chopped is something that has resulted in many of our steady favorites, and rarely lets us down.

This dish is simple, and you can easily adjust the flavors based on what you have in your own home. I will warn you, it is insanely difficult to smell this cooking all day long. I wanted to dive head first into my crockpot and eat every last bit of it! Continue reading “Indian Lentil Chicken Wraps”

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