Lentil Chili

Lentils.  The healthy, cheap, versatile, good-luck food.   And maybe “used-to-be” considered hippie food…. But no more my friends!

Lentil “Chili” (or at least that’s what I call it) is my BFF right now. The cold weather just begs for it.  Hot, spicy, comforting, and it’s easy and cheap…….Cheap!!!

Inexpensive, whatever you want to call it. I forgot how budget-friendly lentils are until they went on sale this week. Normally $1.99 a pound, they were $1.00 a pound this week.  That got my attention and of course I stocked up.  It’s not like they go bad, right?

And a little goes a long way. One dish I love to make using lentils is what I call “lentil chili.”  I’m guessing you can’t really technically call it chili, but it’s the same basic recipe I use to make my regular black bean chili. And I love it – so there.

You really can’t mess it up when you add cheese, tortilla chips and sour cream.  You can of course get “fancy” with chopped jalapeno and whatever other toppings you desire as well.

Normally, I just keep it simple in the winter when the garden isn’t giving up a bounty of fresh goodies to choose from.  And when I’ve had one too many glasses of wine to bother making it “fancy.”

 

Now one serious word about lentils.  They are a natural food and you absolutely must sort through them and pick pick out any loose stones or whatever else you might find.

I’m dead serious.  Unless you don’t have teeth, need extra grit in your gut like a chicken or have fabulous dental insurance, trust me on this one and take a minute to sort through your lentils. You’ll thank me for that.  See, just look at these treasures….

In this batch, I found four stones, a twig, and something I just wasn’t able to identify…

Why are lentils considered lucky?  Lentils are eaten on New Year’s Eve in many places of the world because they are thought to bring prosperity in the New Year to those who eat them.  The thought is, they resemble roman coins. Thus, symbolizing money, riches, luck…

Does this mean that if I eat lentils year-round my luck and prosperity will increase? My stomach is happy to give it a try…. ~A

LENTIL CHILI

Olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 2/3 cup chopped red or yellow bell pepper
6 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons of chili powder
2 teaspoons of oregano
2 teaspoons of ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
2-3 cups of dried lentils (depending on how thick you like it)
one pint of home canned tomatoes in sauce.
chopped cilantro or parsley for garnish

tortilla chips, cheddar cheese and sour cream for toppings
 
Directions:

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. 
Add onions, garlic and peppers and saute until soft. 
Mix in spices and and saute two minutes longer. 
Add tomatoes and juice and lentils. 
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until 
flavors blend and chili thickens to your liking.  

Add more water if necessary until lentils are tender.

Add salt and pepper to taste, ladle chili into bowls and
serve with garnishes.

 

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