the taste space

Spanish Lentil and Mushroom Stew (and Giveaway Winner)

Posted in Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) by Janet M on December 23, 2010

Tomorrow I am heading home for the holidays.  It will be spent with great family, food and friends.

And as I wonder what dishes I could make when I am home, I remind myself that no one likes mushrooms!

WHAT?! Can it be true?

I wasn’t really introduced to the foods my parents don’t like.

Mushrooms.

Coconut.

Brussels sprouts.

Anchovies.

Oysters.

Tofu.

Sushi.

Boiled beef (my Mom loves it, though – I have no interest in ever trying it!).

Fair enough, my kids will never have to suffer through eating celery.

Myself, I was a late bloomer towards mushrooms. I started with an affinity for shiitakes, and then fell in love when I tried enoki mushrooms. Shimeji are a nice woodsy, hearty mushroom, as well. Portobellos were always a nice meaty, treat. Then there’s the oyster mushroom, which tasted like seafood in the barley risotto. (Fair enough, I discovered my love for these wild mushrooms at the same time I found T&T!). I still shun the typical button mushrooms, especially if raw, but recently wanted to try yet another mushroom: cremini.

Truth be told, cremini mushrooms are the same as portobello mushrooms. They are baby portobellos. Once they reach 4-6″, they have graduated to portobello heaven. They are similar to button mushrooms in shape, but taste-wise they are meatier – they are more dense with a deeper flavour.

I was intrigued by Michael’s recipe for a Spanish Lentil and Mushroom Stew on Herbivoracious. He chose to use thick, quartered cremini mushrooms, that were browned. Because the mushrooms were thick, they kept their chewiness but were still slightly crispy on the outside. These flavourful mushrooms were paired with lentils with a hint of smoked paprika and a sherry vinaigrette, and topped with a light, sour tomato-basil salad.

I enjoyed the combination of flavours, of textures and of temperatures. The lentils were smokey with the paprika but the vinaigrette and tomatoes were sour; the lentils were smooth, the mushrooms chewy and the tomatoes crisp; the lentils and mushrooms were warm, the tomatoes cold. You look at the ingredient list and notice how deceiving it looks. It worked really well.

And now onto the winner of my first giveaway from csn stores. Congratulations to Janice who likes to make a noodle and vegetable soup. It sounds delicious. Let me know if you don’t get my email, Janice.

This is my submission to this round of Blog Bites 9, holiday buffet, potluck-style!

Spanish Lentil and Mushroom Stew

1 green onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup French green lentils, picked over and washed (preferably du Puy, but green or brown will work fine, too! They just take a bit longer to cook)
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon + 1 tsp sherry vinegar, divided
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, quartered lengthwise
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
6 big leaves of basil, chiffonade
black pepper, to taste

1. In a large saucepan, over medium-high heat, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil. When hot, saute the onions with a pinch of salt for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and continue to saute for 1 minute, until the onions and garlic are softened. Add the lentils with 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook until tender but not falling apart, around 20 minutes if using du Puy lentils. When they are done, if there is a lot of water left over, drain it and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, in a very hot saute pan, fry the mushrooms with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, turning occasionally. Try to get them to brown well on most sides. Season with salt.

3. When the lentils are cooked, add the smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 tablespoon of sherry vinegar. Taste and adjust seasoning.

4. Toss the cherry tomatoes and basil with 1 teaspoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of sherry vinegar, and a pinch of salt.

5. To serve, divide the lentils into bowls. Top with the mushrooms, and top that with the tomato salad. Give the whole thing a grind of black pepper and another little dusting of smoked paprika, if desired.

Serves 3-4.

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26 Responses

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  1. Priya said, on December 24, 2010 at 5:46 AM

    Looks absolutely healthy,filling and wholesome..Congrats to the winner..

  2. Nupur said, on December 24, 2010 at 8:07 AM

    So full of gorgeous savory flavors- thanks for the entry and Happy Holidays!

  3. Priya sreeram said, on December 24, 2010 at 10:24 AM

    healthy n very yummy looking !

  4. Joanne said, on December 25, 2010 at 8:41 AM

    If I had to list everything I never ate as a kid because my parents didn’t eat it…well I would be listing almost everything I eat now! My kids will never eat celery either. The one vegetable I truly can’t stand.

    This mushroom dish looks delicious! I love the variety of textures and flavors.

    Happy holidays!

  5. Maris (In Good Taste) said, on December 25, 2010 at 4:36 PM

    This looks great! I love lentils – so healthy and filling.

  6. rsmacaalay said, on December 27, 2010 at 5:50 AM

    Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Lentils, Yummy!

    Raymund
    http://angsarap.wordpress.com

  7. Leanne said, on December 27, 2010 at 8:36 AM

    oooh yummy cant wait to try that out!!

    thanks

    check out my blog – it’s brand new!!

    http://urbanoptimist.wordpress.com/

    lovess

    xxx

  8. freshandfoodie said, on December 27, 2010 at 11:58 AM

    Ohhh, this looks wonderful!

  9. the dish diva said, on December 27, 2010 at 5:27 PM

    Just made this with a few substitutions {added sweet italian sausage, subbed shallots for scallions, used red lentils and parsley in place of basil}. I love the zing the vinegar gives and paprika is such a great flavor, and rarely used on it’s own, that it really stands out here. Bravo on a great recipe and photo — the pic made me get up and search my cabinets and fridge for the ingredients to throw this together!

    • Saveur said, on December 28, 2010 at 8:32 PM

      I love how you made the dish your own. And glad to hear you enjoyed it! The red lentils sound like a really interesting twist. :)

  10. mypreretirementmusings said, on December 29, 2010 at 12:19 PM

    The ingredients sound wonderful but the photo seals the deal. Half of a good eating experience is to have the item aesthetically pleasing to the mind and then the palate should agree. Your photo did the trick. Can’t wait to try this one.

  11. culinaryabsurdity said, on December 31, 2010 at 3:05 AM

    The tomatoes are smart addition! Thanks for the recipe!

  12. kimberleyblue said, on January 5, 2011 at 4:52 PM

    I love this! I have it bookmarked and cannot wait to settle down with a big bowl of this one of these cold, winter nights. Mushrooms and lentils…I don’t think it can get any better!

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  15. The Food Hunter said, on January 25, 2011 at 6:31 PM

    This looks so good and healthy to boot.

  16. Ashley said, on February 27, 2011 at 12:57 PM

    I love when mushrooms are quartered and cooked in dishes! Usually they’re sliced or chopped up. I’ve always liked mushrooms (raw ones too mmm love the texture) but don’t really like all the varieties. This dish looks really yummy, and I’ve been looking for more lentil dishes so it’s perfect timing for me to come across it. :)

    • Saveur said, on February 27, 2011 at 3:00 PM

      I hope you try it, Ashley. It is a great way to get to love lentils. :)

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