Saturday, January 16, 2010
Lentil Stew of Umbria
This lentil stew is something that is made in Umbria using green-brown lentils that are grown in the fields of Castelluccio. The most similar lentil we have in the US is the French Lentil De Puy. Traditional green lentils will also work, but the texture will be less toothsome. Some Italian markets carry the Castelluccio lentils. Here is a link if you are interested in learning more about them on Mario’s site.
When I made the omni version of this dish I typically used sweet Italian sausage, but I have used hot Italian sausage as well. To mimic the combination I added a little hot crushed pepper and a tiny bit of fennel seeds. This stew does not need to be made with wine, but it does add to the aroma of the final dish.
This is a good winter stew. It is thick and comforting, like a big warm hug in a bowl. Here is the lentil stew recipe.
Lentil Stew of Umbria
5 stalks of celery, finely diced (approximately 2 cups), 1/4th reserved
1 red onion, peeled and finely diced
6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced (allow to stand 10 minutes so allicin can develop)
½ cup water
2 bay leaves
14 ounce can of petite diced tomatoes, solids and liquids separated
4 cups water
1 cup dry white wine or water (I used pinto grigio)
1 pound of green or brown lentils
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
2 sweet Italian seitan sausages, sliced thinly
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar to finish the dish (1 teaspoon per serving)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely minced
Water sauté ¾ of the diced celery (remainder reserved for later in the recipe), red onion, and garlic until tender. Add the bay leaves, canned tomato liquid, water, wine, lentils, crushed red pepper flakes and fennel seeds. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook covered (checking occasionally to make certain the pan is not getting to dry). You want to final dish to be fairly dry, but not so dry it sticks to the bottom of the pot. Taste the beans for tenderness after 30 minutes. You may need to add liquid at this time. When the lentils are beginning to get tender but still need 15 minutes of cooking time add the reserved diced tomato solids, celery and seitan sausages. Cook until the lentils are tender. Taste the dish for seasoning and add salt and pepper as desired.
To serve this stew finish the dish with a little white wine vinegar drizzled over the top. The acid from the vinegar will brighten and lift the flavors. You can also top with freshly minced parsley but this is optional
Nutritional Information (including optional parsley):
Amount Per Serving
Calories - 399.92
Calories From Fat (3%) - 13.26
Total Fat - 1.5g
Saturated Fat - 0.2g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 265.05mg
Potassium - 997.69mg
Total Carbohydrates - 59.86g
Fiber - 25.86g
Sugar - 4.06g
Protein - 30.77g
This stew has the comfort of a long cooking dish but the freshness of lightly cooked diced tomato, celery and parsley garnish. Pinot grigio adds a nice aroma to the stew. Wine vinegar adds a nice tang. My husband and I both enjoyed this lentil dish with its nice depth of flavor. It tastes as though it was more work than is involved.
Each serving of this stew contains 540IU of vitamin A, 120mg of calcium, 7.5mg of iron, 380mcg of folate, 40mcg of vitamin K, 400mg of phosphorus, 110mg of magnesium, 3.9mg of zinc, and 11.5mcg of selenium. This stew also contains 30grams of protein and over 25 grams of fiber.
Next I will be posting the quick and easy salad dressing I made tonight. It was something that I tossed together that we both loved. We will definitely be making this dressing again so I want to share it with all of you.