Black Beluga lentils are so beautiful, they look like little pearls to me. I bought mine from the bulk section at Whole Foods. You should be able to find them also prepackaged at your local grocery store. These will cook up firmer than the green, brown and red variety. For that reason they are also great in salads. This stew is so simple, yet hearty. Eat it the next day at room temperature with your fork!
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 40 minutes
1 cup black beluga lentils, sorted and rinsed
2 ½ cups vegetable broth, plus extra for sautéing (home-made or low-sodium store-bought)
1 small leek, white and green parts only; sliced length wise and then thinly cross wise
¼ tsp. hot pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 sun-dried oil-free tomatoes, cut up (kitchen scissors work well)
1 medium japanese sweet potato, scrubbed and chopped into ½” dice (approx. 1 generous cup)
2 large carrots, chopped, approx. 1 1/2 cup ( I like to half the carrots and then slice into half moons)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. coriander
1 – 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- Heat a medium pot over medium high heat.
- Add a little vegetable broth and add leeks. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, until leeks start to soften.
- Add garlic and hot pepper flakes. Sauté for another minute or two.
- Add carrots, potatoes, lentils, bay leaves, tomatoes, cumin, coriander and broth,.
- Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer covered, for about 35 minutes, or until lentils are soft. They will still have a bite to them. Most of the broth will have been absorbed.
- Add balsamic vinegar about 30 minutes into the cooking time.
- Remove bay leaves before serving.
Japanese sweet potatoes are a little bit firmer and starchier then regular ones. They also have a very light, pale flesh, which gives it a nice contrast to the orange carrots. If you cannot find them, look for Hannah sweet potatoes as the closest substitution or of course the regular orange ones.