Curried Lentils with Sweet Potatoes and Swiss Chard

Summer took its final breath last week. The nights are cool enough to sleep with the windows open. Yesterday, I wore a sweater to work. And the farmers’ markets are filled with winter squash, apples, pears,  potatoes and Swiss chard.

I go a little nuts when fall sets in. I can’t wait to dive into the range of fall flavors and the heavier comfort foods. It makes me want to curl up with a blanket and book, although there isn’t much time to do that these days.

I ran across this recipe back in May while mining SmittenKitchen for Indian recipes. It originally appeared in The New York Times. It intrigued me. This week, Jeff returned from the Fair Shares pickup site with two pounds of sweet potatoes. I looked up this recipe again,  picked up the rest of the ingredients and decided it was time to give this a try.

The result is comfort food at its best. Warm, sweet and spicy, and filled with superfoods. I fed Gabi some at dinner tonight, trying to coax her little palate into liking the foods her Mommy and Daddy love. So far so good. The three of us loved this one.

Curried Lentils With Sweet Potatoes and Swiss Chard
The New York Times, Nov. 14, 2007 via SmittenKitchen.com

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded if desired, then minced
4 to 5 cups vegetable broth as needed
2 pounds orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into
1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
1 1/2 cups dried lentils
1 bay leaf
1 pound Swiss chard, center ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper|
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Finely grated zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/3 cup finely chopped tamari almonds, for garnish (optional), available in health food stores
1/4 cup chopped scallions, for garnish.

1. In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, garam masala, curry powder and jalapeño. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

2. Stir in 4 cups broth, sweet potatoes, lentils and bay leaf. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium, partially cover, and simmer for 25 minutes. (If lentils seem dry, add up to 1 cup stock, as needed.) Stir in chard and salt and pepper, and continue cooking until lentils are tender and chard is cooked, about 30 to 45 minutes total.

3. Just before serving, stir in cilantro, lime zest and juice. Spoon into a large, shallow serving dish. Garnish with almonds if desired and scallions.

Serves 8 to 10 as a side dish; 6 as a main course


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