I can’t quite remember where I found the inspiration for this recipe. Either it appeared in my inbox or I happened upon it whilst surfing food sites. Either way, it’s gone. Somewhere over the past two weeks I had in my hands a Caribbean influenced recipe that was spicy and fresh with red lentils. It sounded fabulous and perfect for these grey winter days, and I can’t find it anywhere. I’ve searched and searched and not even my search history has revealed anything. All that remains are some random ingredients on a grocery list written down moments before that recipe was forever lost in the ether of the web.
Alas, all is not lost. A bit of a nosing around Amanda Hesser’s Essential NY Times Cookbook (read: recipe bible and one of my favorite reads) and I found a recipe close enough to what I had imagined that other to be like. Really I just wanted something bright and spicy, filling and sunny.
Using Amanda’s Red Lentil Ragout as a guide, this stew came together dreamily. The red lentils and roasted carrots are a cheerful distraction from these cold, cold winter nights. And the spice from the sausages and smoked paprika will help cut through your vitamin D deprived fog and warm your bones.
Lord knows we could all use some of that.
I went a little heavy with the paprika which is why I listed it to taste. You may like your stew a little less spicy.
What you’ll need~
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 medium onion thinly sliced
Spanish smoked paprika, to taste
Chile powder, to taste
Crushed red chiles, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
2-3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 bunch rainbow chard, sliced
Juice from two limes
1/2 cup white basmati rice
1 cup red lentils
5-6 cups chicken broth
3-4 spicy Italian sausages
Juice from one lemon
Half of a cucumber cut into chunks
Heat your oven to 450 degrees. Lay carrots on a parchment lined baking sheet and toss with 3 tablespoons olive oil, a light dusting of paprika, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and ground pepper.
Roast carrots for 15-20 minutes depending on how thick your carrots are.
Using your tongs, turn the carrots and add the onions. Roast for another 10-15 minutes or until the carrots are brown and tender. Remove from oven and let cool.
Cut carrots into 1/4 inch chunks and set aside.
Heat remaining oil in a large saucepan. Add carrots, onions, chile powder, red chile flakes and cook, stirring for about 1 minute.
Stir in lentils, rice, lime juice, paprika and broth and bring to a simmer. Let simmer stirring occasionally for about 20-25 minutes.
While lentils are cooking. Place sausages in a pot of rapidly boiling water and let cook for about 10 minutes. Remove from pot and slice into half-inch chunks. At this point you can stir the chunks of sausage right into the stew, or, optionally, as I like to do, give the sliced sausage a nice browning in a skillet before adding to stew.
Stir garlic and chopped chard into your stew during last 10 minutes of cooking. Finish stew with a squeeze of lemon.
Serve soup warm with a sprinkling of fresh cucumber.