Potato and Lentil Stew

by Cate on January 8, 2008

For the past few years, I’ve been making Jane Brody’s Potato and Lentil Stew. I first discovered the recipe from a post on the Cooking Light bulletin board and it’s a nice, hearty comfort food stew that is ideal for taking off winter’s chill. Our old neighbors are vegetarian, and this was one of the first meals I made for them. Topping the stew off with a dollop of sour cream and mango chutney, and serving it with a side of hot, crusty buttered bread, it makes for a nice simple, no-fuss meal.  At the time, knowing The Husband doesn’t like lentils (or thinks he doesn’t), I probably either referred to it as Potato Stew or nothing at all. The other day, I asked The Husband to stop off at the grocery store and pick up a few things for me, lentils being one of them. At dinner time, I noticed he was barely eating the stew.

“What’s the matter? Not hungry?” I asked.
To which he replied very carefully, “Thank you for making dinner.”
“You don’t like it?”
“I don’t eat lentils.”

Ugh. He doesn’t believe me that I’ve made this before, nor that he’s eaten it. Our new neighbors ended up with a hearty lunch for the next day. As much as I like this stew, I definitely can’t finish off the rest of the batch by myself. Trust me, it’s still a good one and worth serving up… as long as you a) like lentils or b) don’t know that they’re in there. I won’t tell.

Potato and Lentil Stew
Recipe courtesy of Jane Brody’s Good Food Gourmet

1 cup lentils
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 tablespoons olive oil
2 – 3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne or to taste
Salt to taste (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cups canned chopped or crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon honey
Water, if necessary

In a medium saucepan, combine the lentils, water, salt (if desired) and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to med-low, and simmer the lentils until they are just soft, about 30 minutes. Do not drain the lentils! Discard the bay leaf, then set the lentils aside.

In a large dutch oven or saucepan with a nonstick surface, heat the butter or margarine and oil briefly, and add the potatoes. Sprinkle them with the turmeric, cayenne, salt (if desired), and pepper. Cook the potatoes, tossing them, over medium heat, for about five minutes.

Add the tomatoes, the reserved lentils and their cooking liquid, the garam masala and the sugar or honey to the potatoes.

Cook the stew over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring the mixture from time to time and adding water if the stew seems to be too dry.

Cates’ Notes: I usually serve this over rice with a dollop of sour cream and mango chutney on top, and hot, crusty bread on the side. Originally made and reviewed here.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous January 8, 2008 at 1:42 pm

I think you made that for one of our dinners and I know The Husband ate it.

The Neighbors (wife)


Cate January 8, 2008 at 2:49 pm

See that?! I know I’m not going crazy. I found two other posts that reference making it too — silly man.


Erika W. January 9, 2008 at 12:28 am

Mmm. This is one of my favorites too Cate. It’s equally good with sweet potatoes too- and I’m not normally a savory sweet potato fan- load ’em up with butter and brown sugar please!

Thanks for this post! What a nice reminder that I need to make it again very soon.


Sarah Caron January 9, 2008 at 2:46 am

Men! My husband *thinks* he doesn’t like onions . . . truth is, he just doesn’t know they are in many things that I make. I just puree the buggers and he doesn’t know the difference … That blows his “I’m allergic to onions” excuse out of the water.

I finally got him to admit yesterday that it’s onions that are still a bit crunchy that he doesn’t like. Fine by me.


the chocolate lady ??? ??????? January 9, 2008 at 5:11 am

Ah, potatoes and lentils–you can hardly go wrong!
This is very like a Hunza recipe for girgir aloo I made a while back–are links in comments OK? if not just search for “girgir aloo”


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