Before we are digging in on today’s dish, can I just take five seconds and tell you how much I love my daughter. One week ago Elsa turned two. And it got me thinking. I never ever expected parenting to be this much fun. But it is! She is just super hilarious and completely amazing all the time. And the hugs she gives. So utterly honest and full of love. Just needed to say that. Now on to the food.
Hopefully we only have a few more days of winter left. But we still wanted to give you one last comforting recipe before moving on to spring food. This stew is something that has kept us going through the dark and cold Swedish winter. Warm spices, tender sweet potato, chewy black beluga lentils, shaved fennel, a dollop honey and a few tablespoons of sauerkraut. Yes, this dish is probably as comforting as it gets. It’s like one of Elsa’s hugs. Warm and soft and full of life.
If you haven’t tried sauerkraut before, we urge you to give it a try. This fermented finely shredded cabbage – similar to the Korean kimchi, but less spicy – is not only super healthy, but it also gives a fresh twang to whatever you mix it with. In our recipe it works especially good because we both have honey and sweet potatoes that balance the sourness from the sauerkraut.
You can make your own sauerkraut. It is not that complicated, but it takes a while to get the whole fermentation thing going. So if you plan on making this dish sometime this month, you might want to pick up a jar from your supermarket or health store.
I spent the autumn experimenting with my own kimchi recipe. I still have a few jars in our fridge, but after a few months in there I am afraid to open it, thinking it might talk back to me.
Beluga Lentil, Sweet Potato & Fennel Stew with Sauerkraut
If you don’t want the lentils to color the rest of the stew you could also cook them separately (as we have done in the photo above), and then add them to the stew together with the sauerkraut and the honey. But the most nutritious way is to cook everything together.
2 tbsp ghee, coconut or olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp ground cilantro
1 pinch ground cayenne
1 inch fresh ginger, minced
4 garlic cloves
1 large red onion, diced
2 medium size sweet potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
1 fennel bulb, halved and thinly sliced
1 cup lentils, rinsed
2 cups water
2 – 4 tbsp sauerkraut, more for serving
1 -2 tbsp honey
salt & pepper, to taste
1. Melt ghee, coconut or olive oil in a thick-bottomed pot on medium heat.
2. Add cumin, turmeric, cardamom, cilantro and cayenne. Stir constantly to prevent it from burning.
3. When the spices smell fragrant, add ginger, garlic and onions and cook for about 3–5 minutes. Add a little water if it is to dry.
4. Add sweet potatoes and fennel and stir for a couple of minutes. Meanwhile rinse and drain the lentils.
5. Add lentils and water, cover and let simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are cooked.
6. Add sauerkraut and honey. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
7. Serve in bowls and top with sauerkraut and fresh herbs.