The saints love lentils. Why? I am not sure, but it must have something to do with the cheapness and ease of cooking the versatile little legumes. maybe it's because because lentils are mentioned in the Bible. In the story of Jacob and Esau: a story of extreme sibling rivalry. Esau traded his birthright as the eldest son to his brother Jacob for a "pottage of lentils."
I once watched a movie about a troupe of Spanish actors visiting early Nazi Germany. They were starving for lentils, so they ended up in a Jewish restaurant on Kristalnacht, a night when Nazi brown shirts attacked Jewish businesses. Though the experience horrified and frightened them, the actors didn't regret having enjoyed the thick brown stew. Lentils reminded them of home.
You can make such a homey stew, one will stir the passions of a gourmet, and meet the approval of the most saintly vegetarian, all for pennies. A pottage for a pittance: what I mean is this recipe is good and cheap!
(serves starving masses)
NEEDED: one very large heavy stock pot.
2 cups lentils
3 or more stalks celery
1 large can diced tomatoes
2 cups shredded green cabbage
rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil (or whatever preferred herbs: I often use Herbs Provence)
Options: Add cubed red potatoes or macaroni with the vegetables for a more hefty stew.
- Wash and sort lentils carefully.
- Put lentils in stock pot with six cups water and bring to boil. Boil about 3 minutes.
- Add 1 teaspoon salt, garlic, two tablespoons olive oil and tomatoes, simmer 1/2 hour.
- While simmering chop vegetables into spoon sized bites, shred cabbage & add to lentils.
- Add herbs if dried; if fresh wait till last fifteen minutes or so to add herbs
- Simmer until vegetables and lentils are soft, stirring occasionally. This should take about 1/2 hour to 40 minutes.
- Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and crusty bread for a satisfying meal.