Mary Anne here. Given that we’ve been living in a Polar Vortex for most of this winter, steamy, “stick-to-your-ribs” soups have reclaimed their slot in the weekly dinner rotation. Between the arctic air and near daily snowstorms, we’ve been stockpiling the fridge on the regular and it feels like we’re at the grocery store pretty much every day. As Michael says, shopping is now akin to entering the boxing ring very time the weatherman threatens another storm.
This stew was divined during one of our wicked-weather weekends and while you may associate lentils with soup, the sweet potatoes thickened the pot and created what is really a quick-cooking stew. And I’m going to guess that your fridge is stocked with plenty of the fixings for this stewy potage, which means you don’t have to don boxing gloves to run out and buy all of the ingredients. And BTW – according to Mariel, who reaped the benefits of several servings – my beloved grandson, who recently became a bit pickier, scarfed down multiple bowls of “Nana’s Special Stew.” Now that truly warms my winter-weary heart!
Lentil and Sweet Potato Stew with Chicken Sausage
5 Tablespoons olive oil, divided – stock
2 stalks of celery, sliced – $0.49
3 medium-large carrots, cut into ½ – inch rounds – $0.69
1 medium Vidalia onion, diced – $1.22
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½ – inch dice – $1.21
3 cloves garlic, minced – stock
1 lb. dried Lentils, rinsed – $0.99
8 cups chicken stock – $5.00
½ Teaspoon each of sea salt and freshly ground pepper, or to taste
½ lb. baby portabella mushrooms, sliced – $1.99
¾ lb. chicken sausages (I used Aidell’s Chicken and Apple Sausage), cut on the diagonal into ½ – inch thick slices – $4.29
cooking sherry – stock
plain yogurt and fresh cilantro for garnish, if desired
Grand Total Assuming a Well-Stocked Pantry: $15.88
Total Per Serving: $1.59
1. In a large sauté pan, heat 3 Tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high flame. Cook the celery, carrots, onion, and sweet potatoes, stirring frequently, until beginning to soften, about 10 minutes.
2. Stir in the garlic and sauté an additional 5 minutes. Transfer the veggies to a soup pot. Add the lentils and chicken stock and bring to a boil.
3. Reduce the flame and simmer the brew, partially covered, stirring occasionally, for 35 to 45 minutes, until the veggies are tender. Season with salt and pepper
4. Meanwhile, in the same pan used for sautéing the veggies, heat 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil over medium flame. Sauté the chicken sausage slices, turning once, until golden on both sides, about 4 minutes per side.
5. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
6. Again, in the same pan, heat the remaining Tablespoon of olive oil. Add the mushrooms and sauté over medium flame until golden, about 10 minutes.
Note: While the ‘shrooms are still in the pan in the final minutes of cooking, hit them with a splash of cooking sherry to deglaze the pan and add a bit more flavor. As the sherry cooks off, stir constantly to scrape up the bits in the bottom of the pan from all of the veggies and sausages.
7. Just before serving, add the sausages and mushrooms to the lentil and vegetable stew. Correct the seasonings. Ladle into bowls and garnish with plain yogurt and chopped cilantro, if desired.