So I’ve had this can of chiles that’s been sitting in my pantry since Thanksgiving weekend. “Use us! Use us,” They would chirp every once in a while, while I re-arranged my cabinets. I bought them on a whim, not quite sure what I was going to use them for, nor quite sure what they would even taste like. They’ve made the move from shelf to shelf, to the front, to the back, to the left… alright, before I get all Beyonce up in here… they’ve basically been the most challenging food item I’ve ever bought.
But why? I love the addition of chile peppers in soups, stews, and especially in Indian meals, which I’ve grown an intense fondness for in recent months. So what was holding me back from tossing the contents of this little can into my own cooking? I’ll never really know. Perhaps it was fear that they would be too… (insert unpleasantry here). Too hot. Too bland. Too processed. Too tinny. Too salty. However, much to my delight, they aren’t any of those things! These little babies are the secret ingredient in the best-lentils-I’ve-ever-made, and they will possibly serve as the hidden gem in the meals I’ll be making in the chilly days to come.
So, without further adieu, here’s a dish that will warm you on a wintery evening: a combination of hearty lentils to fill you up, sweet bell peppers and earthy greens to add some balance, and smoky heat to warm your soul. Pairs perfectly with a pint of stout, dark or amber ale, or, compliment it nicely by sipping on some smoky whiskey between bites.
(Best Ever) Spicy Lentil Stew
oh hey! it’s vegan! – an original recipe by allison sklar
what you’ll need
2 whole chiles in adobo sauce, diced
1 tsp of adobo sauce ( ^ from can)
1 cup brown lentils, soaked (not canned)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 large bell pepper, diced
1 cup spinach*, chopped
3/4 cup vegetable broth (or ale)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp salt
*note: you may substitute kale or collard greens for a more earthy flavour.
how to do it
Preheat oven to 350F. Combine lentils, spinach, cilantro and bell pepper in a casserole dish. Toss with spices and adobo sauce. Pour broth over the entire mixture. Cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring once, about half way. Best served over cooked basmati rice with a dollop of yogourt. Garnish with fresh cilantro and a pinch of smoked paprika.