This vegetarian stew made with lentils, roasted carrots and Lacinato kale has roots in the Pakistani kitchen with its notes of smoky cumin and bright turmeric. Heirloom carrots, when in season, can add a vibrant dimension to the stew. Served with your favorite bread—be it sourdough or ghee-slicked naan—and it becomes a perfectly comforting weeknight meal you can easily throw together.
- 1 cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
- ½ medium onion, sliced thin
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 1 cup hot water, if necessary
- 1 pound carrots, rinsed and scrubbed
- 10 ounces fresh Lacinato kale, stems removed, very finely chopped
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Crème fraiche (for garnish)
- Sweet smoked paprika (for garnish)
In 6-quart, heavy-bottomed pot over high heat, add 5 cups cold water, lentils, cumin, turmeric, red chili pepper flakes, onion and garlic. Bring to boil, then reduce to medium heat. Cover with lid partially so steam can escape. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring every 5–7 minutes. If lentils get too thick, add hot water in ¼-cup intervals to thin. If too watery, cook down.
Place a rack in lower part of oven and heat to 400°F. Toss carrots with olive oil on rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Bake 20–25 minutes, or until tender. Remove from oven, and let cool.
Once carrots cool a little, dice on cutting board.
Lentils will look creamy when fully cooked. Crush garlic with back of spoon, and stir into lentils. Add carrots and kale to lentils, and gently stir. Season with salt. Garnish with dollop of crème fraiche and dusting of sweet smoked paprika. Serves 4.
This spicy, earthy stew needs a structured rosé to offer some counterbalance. Try with the Cataldi Madonna 2017 Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo.