Lentil Chili

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We loooooove lentils. They are chock full of fiber (and gas!) and best of all, they’re cheap. Lentil chili is probably our favorite version of lentil soup because it’s spicy (well, the way I make it) and it’s just as satisfying as meat-based chili. As you may have figured out we aren’t vegetarians by a long stretch, but I do like to moderate the amount of meat I eat, and we eat meatless dinners several times a week.

Ingredients:

  • 200 grams (about 1 cup) dry brown/pardina lentils, rinsed to remove any dirt
  • 1 large jar of kidney beans (400 grams), drained and rinsed well
  • 2 cups of onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • a large red pepper, chopped coarsely
  • 2 cans of 400g tomate triturado (plain tomato puree)
  • 1 TB sweet pimentón (paprika)
  • 2 tsp pimentón de la vera (smoked paprika)
  • 2 TB oregano
  • 2 tsp hot pimentón
  • 1-2 tsp cayenne (which is hotter than hot pimentón, leave this out if you can’t stand the heat)
  • some canned jalapeño slices if you’re into that
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder*
  • 1/2 tsp dried onion*
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 TB olive oil (the cooking kind, not the good stuff)

* I use both fresh and dried garlic & onion in this recipe because I think that they have a distinct flavor, and I don’t use pre-mixed chili powder as it contains weird random stuff. Chili powder is merely a blend of paprikas, garlic and salt, so why not make your own!

Instructions:

In a largish pot (or pressure cooker) lightly sauté the chopped onions, red pepper and garlic in 2 TB olive oil. When the onions start to go translucent add the lentils and lightly fry, this step helps the lentils keep their shape. Then pour in the triturado and two cups of water and stir. Add all the herbs, spices and salt, etc., stirring through. Add the red beans, mixing them in gently.

Now here’s where things get crazy: you can either pressure cook them (at full pressure which is 15 dpi) for 25 minutes (using the slow release technique) or simmer them on the stove (covered) for at least an hour. If you simmer them on the stove top keep an eye on the liquid, as lentils suck up a lot of water. You’ll also have to stir them on occasion to make sure they don’t burn to the bottom.

Serve as you do regular chili; with pasta, chopped onion, cilantro, cheese, whatever your fancy!

Servings: Approx six. 275 calories (without any cheese, etc.)

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