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Black Lentil and Pork Stew

Day 26. No, day 27. I could be writing the flood journal companion to Mrs D's flu journal. The rains came. And they stayed. Seattle  has a over a far. Down here in evenTinierTown, we're easily at double or triple that — we got a foot in 3-4 days a week or so ago. Not much blog-worthy food happening here, it's too dark to take pictures, so I keep putting certain dishes on hold for a sunny day.

As if.

Case in point: Just as the sun was starting it's slide behind the Willapa Hills ridgeline to the west, the clouds broke enough that it was visible. I doubt I've actually seen the sun on any of those, 27 days. I scurried to grab my camera and scurried back. Took maybe 90 seconds. Two minutes max. Hurried and scurried. To take this picture of the bay tree. See those white blotches? Hail. Yep, hail.

All of which puts me in the mood for comfort food. Some of which would be hard to come by around here right now — one side effect of all this rain is flooded roads and landslides so it's been a while since I went to a grocery store. Luckily, some of my comfort foods leans heavily towards warm, spicy, earthy soups and stews paired with homemade bread.      


It all started a week or so ago with Shauna's post about a pork roast that she cooked with butternut squash, olive and pumpkin seed oil, herbs de provence, and meyer lemon salt, then served with greens and goat cheese. Having a pork roast on hand, I decided to try a variation of her idea that evening.

Rifling through the refrigerator yielded the standby celery and carrots, to which I added shallots,  fresh rosemary, and a minced habanero pepper. The roast was browned briefly on all sides over medium high heat, with the shallots, onions and celery added when I turned the roast to the last side. Once the roast was browned, I added about a cup of red wine from a leftover half-bottle, a couple of (ice cube size) chunks of homemade concentrated beef stock and another half cup or so of water, sprinkled the rosemary, habanero and a bit more shallot on top, covered it and put it in a 300 degree oven for...oh, heck, the rest of the afternoon. Maybe 3 hours, maybe 5.


By the time the roast came out of the oven, hunger won out over photography, so I don't have any pictures of it when it was done. Take my word for it, served alongside some oven roasted yukon gold potatoes, this was a warm and tasty meal on a cold and blustery night.

That's part one.   

Part two begins with a desire to clean out the freezer while we're not going shopping via the intermittently washed-out roads and the discovery of a bag of black lentils in the back of the cupboard. Bags appeared on the counter: black lentils, a handful of wild rice, a few vegetables, a couple of habaneros, half a dozen cubes of homemade concentrated vegetable stock, some frozen ginger root, two scoops of tomato paste...and the leftover pork roast.

Chop onions, sautee in a bit of olive oil until semi-translucent. Add celery and cook for a few more minutes. Add lentils and rice, cook for another few minutes. Cover this mixture with water to about triple the depth of the lentils mixture, add stock, minced habanero, grated ginger, a teaspoon or so of salt, chopped carrots, tomato paste, rosemary, and a couple of bay leaves. Turn down heat to simmer.

Chop the roast in bite-sized cubes and toss in some hot olive oil just long enough to brown, then add to stew. I had some hot links so I also chopped them and did this with them as well.

I let this simmer for about three hours and it was pretty darned good. Although everything was relatively mushed together by the time it was done, it was tasty mush,m and the mouth-warmth of the ginger was a prelude to the heartier throaty heat of the habanero, combining to leave a nice afterglow to the stew. Light, yet chewy, homemade wheatberry rolls complemented this rather nicely. If there was any fresh fruit in the house, it would have been nice...but the trek to the store waits for tomorrow, when the water recedes.

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