This hearty lentil stew is perfect for these last few days before Christmas or you can wait and make it as a traditional New Years dish. It is thick and satisfying with warm, earthy flavors, then drizzled with a bit of olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar for culinary balance.
All around the world, lentils and legumes are traditionally eaten to ring in the New Year, in hopes of wealth and prosperity for the year ahead. Lentils green color and seed like appearance resembles coins that swell when cooked so they are consumed with financial rewards in mind.
In Italy it’s customary to eat cotechino con lenticchie or sausages and green lentils, just after midnight. Germans also partner legumes and pork, usually lentils with sausage. In Brazil, the first meal of the New Year is usually lentil soup or lentils and rice.
Cooked greens, including cabbage, collards, kale, and chard, are consumed at New Year’s in different countries for a simple reason — their green leaves look like folded money, and are thus symbolic of economic fortune. The Danish eat stewed kale sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. In the southern United States, collards are the green of choice. It’s widely believed that the more greens one eats the larger one’s fortune next year.
This Winter Vegetable Lentil Stew is just the right dish for New Years (or any winter’s day) to increase your fortune in the New Year. This is an easy one pot dish of root vegetables with celery, carrots, onions and kale simmered in a hearty broth with nutty French lentils cooked to perfection.
The ingredients sound simple and peasant like and that’s because they are. These plain ingredients are slow simmered to perfection with all the classic flavors to make a bowl of comforting lentils that are super yummy.
I love lentils. They’re cheap, they’re easy to make, and they are considered a power food that is somehow a nutrition fountain of youth. Researchers who study the elderly found that eating these earthy-tasting lentils (and other legumes) is the single most important dietary factor in longevity. To me this is the best reason to eat lentils. Eat lentils and stay young!
I use turnips, parsnips, celeriac and carrots for winter vegetables but you don’t have to use them all. Choose what’s available. I add a chipotle chile to get a little smoky flavor. It doesn’t make it spicy, just flavorful.Print
This hearty lentil stew is thick and satisfying with warm, earthy flavors.
- 1 cup French green lentils
- 1 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon ghee or grass fed butter, or bacon fat would be good here if you like it
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 1 celeriac, peeled and chopped into 1/2” dice, about ¾ pound
- 1 turnip, peeled and chopped into 1/2” dice
- 3/4 pound carrots, peeled and chopped into 1/2 “ dice (4 carrots)
- 1/2 pound parsnips, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch dice (3 parsnips)
- 1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
- 5 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 1 chipotle chili pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
- 1 bunch hearty greens trimmed and sliced very thin (kale, mustard greens, collards), about 5 cups
- extra virgin olive oil, to serve
- Balsamic vinegar, to serve
- Pour the lentils into a large mixing bowl, cover with warm water by 2 inches, and stir in vinegar. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and leave in a warm spot in the kitchen for 8 to 12 hours. Drain the lentils and rinse well.
- Melt the ghee or other fat in a heavy-bottomed stock pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook until fragrant and translucent, 5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
- Stir in celeriac, turnips, carrots, and parsnips. Sprinkle the vegetables with salt, cover the pot, and sauté for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in lentils, chicken stock, chili pepper, bay leaf and thyme. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes until lentils are tender. Remove and discard the chili pepper, thyme and bay leaves.
- Turn off the heat, and stir in the greens. Cover and allow the greens to wilt in the residual heat of the lentils for about 5 minutes.
- Taste to adjust salt.
- Serve with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
- Category: Main Dish
- Cuisine: Seasonal, Paleo, Vegan, Gluten Free