Lentil Stew With Pumpkin or Sweet Potatoes

This recipe originally appeared in the New York Times, available here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/18/health/nutrition/18recipehealth.html?ref=recipes_for_health&_r=1&  I have made some modifications.

1/2 pound lentils (about 1 heaping cup), rinsed and picked over

6 cups vegetable stock

1 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

20 sprigs cilantro, tied into a bunch

Salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

2 medium or 1 large carrot, chopped

1/2 pound winter squash (such as pumpkin or butternut squash) or sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice

3 tablespoons tomato paste

Freshly ground pepper

2 to 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. Combine the lentils, water or stock, onion, garlic cloves and bay leaf in a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Add the turmeric and the cilantro. Reduce the heat, add salt to taste, cover and simmer 30 minutes.

2. Add the remaining ingredients except the parsley. Bring back to a simmer, cover and simmer 30 minutes or until the lentils and vegetables are tender. Discard the cilantro bundle, taste and adjust seasonings. Just before serving, stir in the parsley.

Note: this is a thick, very flavorful stew so if you need to stretch the recipe, just add 2-4 more cups of water for a thinner but still delicious soup.

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