For all the holiday indulging that goes on this time of year, it's nice to be able to serve a hearty but healthy meatless meal. You could serve this over brown rice, quinoa or even plain with a side of cornbread. I love the versatiliy of the lowly lentil and in this dish, they shine.
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 fresh jalepeno chile, seeded and finely chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
2 teaspoons dried oreagano, crumbled
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 cups lentils, rinsed and drained
1 bay leaf
2 quarts chicken stock or broth (64 oz)
accompaniments: sour cream, chopped tomato, scallions, cilantro
Cook onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, celery, carrot, garlic, salt, and pepper in oil in 5 to 6 quart heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, stir together brown sugar, spices, oregeno, thyme, and mustard, then add this mixture to the vegetables and cook, stirring until fragrant, for about 4 minutes.
Add lentils, bay leaf, and stock. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally until lentils are very soft, 50 to 60 minutes. Discard bay leaf before serving.