Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Year's Lentil Stew...with a Twist

In many cultures, eating lentils on New Year’s Day is considered to be good luck. Italians believe that the lentils represent coins, and eating them will bring prosperity in the new year. Every January 1st, Hungarians and Brazilians eat lentil soup hoping it will bring riches, and even in the American South, families are served "Hoppin' John", a lentil, black-eyed pea, and greens stew, which is said to bring luck to those who eat it.

I don't know what is in the cards for me this year, but I plan to eat lots of lentils in 2008. I just love them! They are healthy, low in calories, loaded with protein, and most importantly, delicious. This recipe combines lucky lentils with chicken and cinnamon tea, which gives the stew something of a Moroccan flair. Serve it with a crisp, green salad for a perfectly healthy, perfectly lucky meal. Happy New Year!

Moroccan Lentil Stew with Cinnamon
Serves 6
4 cups hot water
4 tea bags, cinnamon flavor
½ lb dried brown lentils, rinsed and checked for stones
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 lbs chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 – 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes in sauce
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup dry roasted almonds, roughly chopped
3 T Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped

Combine four cups hot water and four cinnamon tea bags and allow to steep for approximately 5-7 minutes.
Add tea and lentils to a large stew pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for approximately 20 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Remove to a large bowl and set aside.
In the same pot, add olive oil and sauté onions and garlic until softened. Add cut-up chicken and cook until cooked through and no longer pink inside (about 10 minutes).
Add diced tomatoes and cooked lentils to the pan and heat through . Season with salt and pepper.
Add chopped almonds and parsley and serve.

Nutritional Information
Serving : 1/6 of recipe (387 g)
Calories 381
Total fat 15g
Saturated Fat 2g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 98mg
Sodium 561mg
Carbohydrates 18 g
Dietary Fiber 8 g
Sugars 1 g
Protein 45 g

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