Lentils are the perfect solution for what I call "mid-week meals" when you need a fast and bother-free weekday dinner without giving up taste and nutrition. This is especially true on those days when I haven't planned ahead, because — unlike whole beans which require at least several hours of soaking before cooking — lentils don't have to be soaked at all or need only a couple of hours of soaking to speed up what is already a short cooking process. They're also extraordinarily versatile and can be prepared or paired with almost any number of other ingredients and flavors.
I'm especially fond of the Puy or French lentils that hold their shape when cooked — these beautiful dark green and blue speckled little pearls are especially attractive and toothsome in a soup. Their earthy and peppery flavor combines beautifully with tangy fresh tomatoes and spices, as with this quick and easy thick, nourishing and delicious stew made with lentils, tomatoes and harissa, the classic North African chili, garlic and cumin condiment. It's perfect if you have harissa on hand, whether store-bought or homemade. In fact, I used some leftover green harissa made with fresh jalapeños instead of dried red chilies that I had prepared to serve with some baked chickpea koftas earlier in the week! Delicious, but any variety of harissa will make this stew a savory delight … just adjust the amount of harissa to suit your preferences.
Five minutes of preparation and 20 to 30 minutes of easy fuss-free cooking time is all that this stew takes from start to finish. Feel free to dispense with the short 2-hour lentil soaking time in the instructions if you're in a hurry, and just add an extra 1/2 cup or so of water and let the lentils cook for an extra 10 minutes. Ordinary green or brown lentils may be used if you cannot find French lentils, although more care needs to be taken to make sure that the lentils do not turn any more mushy than necessary.
|French Lentil Tomato and Harissa Stew|
|Recipe by Lisa Turner|
Published on September 23, 2013
Quick and easy, this thick, hearty and nourishing French lentil and tomato stew is seasoned with harissa, the classic and distinctive fiery chili, garlic and cumin condiment from North Africa
Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 20 to 30 minutes
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More French lentil soup ideas you will enjoy:
Saffron-Brandied French Lentils
Puy Lentil Soup with Spinach
Puy Lentil and Tomato Soup