I first made this from a recipe on 101 Cookbooks. Although I'm positive that Heidi Swanson, author of the blog and a few great cookbooks, wrote an absolutely wonderful original recipe, I didn't have all the right ingredients the first time I made it or any time since. That turned out to be a great thing.
Also, the recipe called for dates to be sprinkled on the top. I don't have anything against dates, but I rarely keep them in my kitchen and, at the time, I couldn't quite grasp how putting something sweet on the dish could be good.
I'm so happy that I decided to try a different dried fruit, like cranberries. Not only does their sweetness compliment the lentils and vegetables, but so does their tartness. The bright color doesn't hurt, either.
That's to say nothing of the spicy herb salsa and salted yogurt, which complete the dish. You get a little of everything: tart, salty, bitter, sweet, and tons of savory. And it's easy to adapt it to what ingredients you have or feel like eating at the time. And it's so good that I am going to impose limits on myself so that I don't get tired of it. Losing interesting in this meal would be a sad, sad thing.
POTATO | VEGETABLE | LENTIL (OR GRAIN) STIR-FRY
- 1 cup fresh cilantro
- 1/2 serrano chile pepper, chopped
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1 T. lemon juice
- 1/4 t. sugar
- salt and pepper, to taste
Lentils (or Grains)
- 1 c. lentils, picked over
- 1 small bay leaf (optional)
- 1/2 t. salt
Bring 2 cups water and the lentils to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Turn heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until lentils are tender and have absorbed most of the water. Check occasionally to make sure there is enough water in the pan. When cooked, drain off excess water and allow to cool while the rest of the dish is prepared.
- olive oil
- 2-3 medium potatoes, chopped
- cooked lentils from above
- 1/2-1 bunch kale, washed and roughly chopped
- 1/3 c. plain, natural yogurt
- 1/2 t. salt, plus more to season
- 2 T. dried cranberries, chopped
Heat about 1 T. oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes, season with salt, stir to coat, and cover to steam for about 5 minutes. Remove cover and saute until golden brown, about 5 minutes more. Remove potatoes to a large bowl and return the skillet to the heat, adding a little more oil. Add the lentils and saute them to warm through and crisp up a bit. Add the lentils to the potatoes and return the skillet to medium-low heat, with a little more oil if necessary. Put kale in the skillet and toss to coat with oil. Replace the lid to steam for about one minute, until the kale is cooked through and bright green. Add the kale to the lentils and potatoes and stir to combine. Reheat in skillet if necessary, although you're not likely to have enough room for all of it at once.
Stir salt into yogurt in a small bowl. Serve the potato mixture drizzled with the yogurt and herb sauce, and top with the dried cranberries.
Please, please, please try this recipe. I can just about guarantee you will love it.
*Replace ANY element with a similar food stuff that you like. I suggest replacing the lentils with quinoa, the kale with broccoli or Brussels sprouts, the cilantro with mint or parsley, and the cranberries with dried cherries or raisins. Or any combination of these options. Or something entirely new.
**I would not, however, replace the potatoes. They are so good! Okay, maybe you could try sweet potatoes, turnips, or something like that.