If you haven’t yet fallen in love with lentils, this recipe for Orange-Braised Red-Lentil Stew will change your mind. Orange juice lends flavor and unexpected sweetness. And if you have leftovers, they’ll make a delicious vegetarian dinner, served over basmati rice.
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil or unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped
5 medium-size garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups red lentils
3 cups orange juice, preferably freshly squeezed
1–1-1/2 cups water
2 large handfuls spinach or Swiss chard, stemmed and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, parsley, or scallion
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Warm the olive oil or butter in a large, deep skillet (cast iron works nicely) on medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and spices and cook another 6 minutes or so, stirring often, until onions are soft and beginning to take on some color. Add the lentils and orange juice; stir to combine. Simmer on medium-low heat, stirring every so often until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes.
Add enough water to just cover the lentils, and continue cooking 15 to 20 minutes longer, until lentils are soft but not mushy. Add the greens and herbs, and stir to combine, adding a little more water if needed. Cover and cook another 3 to 5 minutes. Season to taste, and serve with crusty bread.