Persian Lentil Stew

Ingredients

2 1/2 c. green or brown lentils, rinsed and picked over for small stones

7-8 c. vegetable stock

2 medium yellow onions, peeled and finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

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6 tbsp. olive oil, divided

1 tbsp. ground turmeric

1 cinnamon stick, or 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Handful of leaves from the tops of 2 celery stalks, chopped

1/2 tbsp. coarse kosher salt, more to taste

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 c. fresh cilantro, leaves and tender stems coarsely chopped, plus for garnish

2 tbsp. pomegranate molasses

1 tbsp. pomegranate seeds, for garnish

1 navel orange, peeled and cut into wedges, for garnish

Directions

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chopped onions and sauté until tender, but not browned, about 10 minutes.

Add garlic, salt, and turmeric to the onions, stir, and cook until aromatic, 1-2 minutes.

Stir in lentils, cinnamon stick (or ground cinnamon), celery leaves, and 7 cups of vegetable stock. Bring mixture to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Continue cooking lentils for 45 minutes, checking every 15 minutes to make sure that all of the broth hasn’t been absorbed. If needed, pour in just enough broth to retain a soupy consistency.

Remove from heat and discard cinnamon stick, if using. Stir in fresh cilantro and pomegranate molasses. Taste for seasonings, adding more salt and pepper, as needed.

Transfer stew to a serving bowl. Just before serving, garnish with additional fresh cilantro, pomegranate arils and orange wedges.

 This stew can be prepared a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container. When ready to serve, gently reheat stew and garnish as directed above.

 Makes 6 servings.

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