It’s not the sexiest of dishes, but on a cold winter day, this lentil barley stew is what we’ve been craving. With a fried or hard boiled egg on top and green salad on the side, it makes an easy, healthy, kid-friendly dinner and a great next-day lunch.
1/2 cup of brown lentils
3/4 cup barley
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, sliced
4 medium tomatoes, peeled and seeded
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups of vegetable broth
1 cup of water
1. Soak the lentils and barley overnight. (I never remember to do this, but haven’t had a problem when I’ve soaked for as little as two or three hours).
2. Bring a pot of water to boil. Score the bottom of the tomatoes with an “x” and drop into the boiling water. Boil for 2 minutes and then plunge the tomatoes into an bowl of ice water. Remove from the water, peel, seed and roughly chop the tomatoes and set them aside. (I think that a can of whole tomatoes would work if you don’t have fresh tomatoes or want to avoid the whole peeling/seeding step).
3. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot that has a lid. I usually use an 8 quart stock pot or my dutch oven. Chop the onion and add it to the pot, sauteing for a few minutes. Add the sliced garlic and chopped tomatoes and saute for about 4 more minutes. Add the tomato paste, the lentils and the barley, coating the ingredients with the tomato paste.
4. Pour in the vegetable broth plus 1 cup of water, cover and cook over medium heat for about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more water if the ingredients start to stick to the bottom of the pot. Season with salt and pepper and serve. A little drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of flaky sea salt like Maldon and fresh basil or parsley are nice additions.