This was a recipe I first started playing around with over 10 years ago - it is based on a recipe from the original Essense of Emeril TV show - circa 1995. I like it best with Chicken stock, but using mushroom broth to make it completely vegetarian doesn't lessen the recipe much. All my friends and family say they have never tasted anything else quite like it. A tiny bit of feta crumbled on top when serving (reduced fat feta works fine too if you like to lighten things up) should not be omited, really! The tanginess of the feta perfectly compliments the lemon & mint undertones in the stew. One big pot is all that is needed. The time consuming part is all up front in the chopping.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 1⁄2 quarts chicken stock
- 2 cups brown lentils
- 1 lb red potatoes
- 1⁄4 cup lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 12 ounces spinach leaves (picked and cleaned, frozen is okay as an alternative)
- 1⁄2 cup chopped mint leaf
- 1⁄2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1⁄4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- salt and pepper
- Cut/dice the red skin potatoes into approx 1/2-inch-ish cubes, with skin still on. I generally use smaller golfball-to-racquetball sized potatoes. Grate the zest from 2 small -to-medium lemons into a dish, and then juice the lemons, a little extra juice/zest (beyond wht the recipe calls for) is okay.
- In a large pot heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, stirring for 30 seconds over medium heat. Add the chicken stock and the lentils, and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for at least 10 minutes.
- Add the potatoes, cook uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Sample the lentils, checking every few minutes for soft smooth texture, replace cover and simmer till the lentil texture is as soft as you prefer.
- Add the lemon juice, zest, and spinach. Simmer for 3-5 minutes or until the spinach wilts. Fold in the mint and parsley. Adjust the seasonings (salt & pepper to taste).
- Serve with crumbled feta.
- Notes: 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes can also be added with the lentils & chicken stock at the first stage - I like it better without the tomatoes, but I thought I'd note that variation if you are tomato-inclined.