We enjoyed sampling yummy soups and stews last week in Bariatric Cooking Class including Light Clam Chowder and and White Chicken Chili. Alhough some had never tasted lentils before, they were very impressed with this super nutritious, smoky tasting stew. Lentils are a powerhouse of nutrition. They are a good source of potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin and vitamin K, but are particularly rich in dietary fiber, lean protein, folate and iron. Lentils are not only one of the oldest commonly consumed legumes in history, but they cook up pretty fast and don’t require extra soaking like most other beans. I’m always happy to find a stew that goes together so quickly and this one is pretty quick. Try chopping the vegetables ahead to cut the total preparation time down to under 30 minutes.
I was introduced to and fell in love with lentils in college because I ate Progresso’s Lentil Soup all the time. It was so warm and soothing and when you’re stressed out and need something nutritious to eat, this soup became my go-to meal. I’ve experimented with lentils over the years and came across this recipe combination that could also be called, Super Stew for all the fabulous phytochemicals and antioxidants in it i.e. kale, tomatoes, carrots, onions, celery, garlic. I diced up hickory smoked pre-cooked ham for the rich protein filler and along with the lentils, provides a powerful protein punch.
While the weather is still cold and you’re looking for a quick, nutritious family meal, give this recipe a try. Partner with a big green salad, cut up fruit, rustic whole grain bread for a complete hearty dinner.
- Smoky Lentil and Ham Stew
- 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup sliced celery
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup dried lentils
- 1/2 cup chopped carrot
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 cups chopped Swiss chard, kale, or spinach
- 1 cup chopped smoked ham
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Add broth, lentils, carrot and bay leaves; bring to a boil. Partially cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes until lentils are soft. Add Swiss chard, ham, tomatoes, basil, thyme, and pepper; simmer another 10-15 minutes, adding extra water as needed.
- Discard bay leaves. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with a tossed green salad and rustic whole grain bread.