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Herbed Lentil Stew

Was this lentil stew the "mess of pottage" for which Esau sold his birthright? It is a typical Middle Eastern stew, this time from Lebanese Jews. It is a one-pot meal, a filling everyday entree.

ingredients

serves 4
2 cups red lentils
3 cups water
2 tablespoons oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
1 pound spinach, trimmed and chopped
2 potatoes, peeled
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

method

1. Wash the lentils and pick them over to remove any small stones or other impurities.

2. Put lentils in a saucepan and add water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat, cover the pan, and cook for 20 minutes.

3. Heat the oil in a 2 quart heatproof casserole or Dutch oven.

4. Add the onion and cook over medium heat until the onion is transparent, about 5 minutes.

5. Add the garlic and coriander and cook 5 minutes more.

6. Then add the spinach, and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

7. Add the potatoes and lentils with their cooking liquid to the saucepan.

8. Bring to a boil over a high heat, then reduce the heat, cover the pan, and simmer for 1 hour or until thick.

9. Add the lemon juice, salt, and black pepper just before serving.

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