Resolution Recipe.

I’ve been attempting to rein in my holiday-style eating habits, as so many of us do this time of year; if you cooked the kind of food I did in December, you’d make a good-faith effort, too. (Intrigued? I’ll share soon enough.)

This weekend, as I flipped through my bookmarks and photos in search of inspiration, I came across this hearty, healthy, easily customizable stew that I made last winter. Yes, I’m completely derelict in my food-blogger duties: I concocted this last winter, and I’m just getting around to sharing it with y’all now.

I found a recipe for Moroccan harira, a soup traditionally used to break the fast during the month of Ramadan, as the result of an Epicurious query for lentils, rice, chickpeas, and the like; I borrowed the method and the main ingredients for my version, but the seasoning wasn’t quite what I had in mind.

It was your typically dreary January day, the mercury dipping low, the threat of rain implicit in gray skies; I wanted a curry, something with a heady fragrance to warm up the place. I adjusted the spices accordingly, threw in a handful of leftover chicken and, though not a traditional element in dishes such as these, a few snow peas for color and crunch. And that’s the beauty of this simple stew: You could let your imagination run wild with the substitutions and still come away with a winner. Spinach, zucchini, bell peppers, tofu: pretty much anything you have lingering in your refrigerator could be put to good use.

When it’s this easy to meet your “spend less” and “eat healthier” New Year’s resolutions, you’ll feel fully justified in having that glass of wine or two with dinner. Go ahead. You’ve earned it.

Curried Chickpea and Lentil Stew
Adapted from Gourmet, March 1994

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 hot pepper [I used a red chili; a jalapeño would work as well]
1-2 tablespoons curry powder [Or more to taste, if you like things strongly spiced]
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon garam masala
¼ teaspoon turmeric
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
1 19-ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed
½ cup long-grain rice, uncooked
½ cup lentils
Baby spinach or snow peas (optional)
Nonfat Greek yogurt or sour cream

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven and saute onion, garlic and hot pepper for three minutes, or until tender. Add spices and saute one minute, then add broth, tomatoes, chickpeas, rice, and lentils and simmer, covered, 25 minutes, or until lentils are almost tender. Stir in spinach or snow peas, if using, and simmer for five more minutes, until spinach is wilted or snow peas are crisp-tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream.

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4 thoughts on “Resolution Recipe.

  1. Aunt Jill says:

    Just sent this onto Michael- sounds really good- I am going to make it this week! THANKS!!

  2. Maya says:

    Thanks, Aunt Jill! Let me know how it comes out…I tend to use a heavy hand with the spices, hoping I struck the right balance here.

  3. YUM!!! Just made these and took my first bite. Nice! Had my two kiddos help me make them. YUM YUM YUM! I have a cooking recipe site as well and Id like to exchange links with you. Let me know if this is possible. Thanks.

  4. Maya says:

    Glad you enjoyed, guys!

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