Lentil and Tomato Stew

As summer seeps away and autumn ebbs in, the nights are getting a bit more blustery. I recently made this simple stew to warm us up.

Lentil and Tomato Stew

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 large carrots cut into 1-inch thick slices
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 ounce or 800 gram) can of tomatoes, chopped of whole tomatoes are both fin
1 cup frozen spinach
1 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 ½ tablespoons curry powder
1 ½ tablespoons *ras el hanout
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped (thyme may be substituted)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
A few dashes of fish sauce (red or white wine vinegar may be substituted)

Add oil to a large saucepan over medium heat. Once oil is hot, after about 1 minute, add onion and carrot. Cook until onion is translucent and beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add all the remaining ingredients except for half the rosemary and the fish sauce and bring to a boil. When adding salt keep in mind that the fish sauce is rather salty, so taste as you go. If you are using whole plum tomatoes, use a wooden spoon to smash the tomatoes against the side of the saucepan. Reduce heat until the stew is simmering and let it go for about 40 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Turn off the heat and add the fish sauce. Sprinkle the remaining rosemary over each individual bowl of stew. Bon appétit! 

*Ras el hanout is a Moroccan spice blend. If you do not have it on hand, you may substitute with ground cumin (I always pan warm cumin before I add it to anything, it really opens up the flavor), turmeric, ginger, cardamom or any combination of the above.

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