Red Lentils & Roma Tomato Stew

Red Lentils & Roma Tomato Stew
Served on Whole Wheat Couscous & Topped With Vermont Feta Cheese-

A friend with a community garden plot in the Chuck Shoudy memorial garden near Lincoln Park in Albany, New York,  which is one of 46 cooperative neighborhood gardens in Upstate New York’s Capital District, (www.cdcg.org/) has a bountiful, late summer crop of beautiful & organic Roma tomatoes, which he gladly shared.  With white onions and garlic from my home garden, and organic red lentils ($3.49 per pound), organic whole wheat couscous ($2.99 per pound), and artisinal and organic Randolph Center, Vermont cow’s milk feta cheese ($14.59 per pound, www.neighborlyfarms.com),  all purchased from my local food co-op, the Honest Weight Food Coop in Albany, N.Y., www.hwfc.com, I had the ingredients for an easy and tasty main dish for the end of summer.  The red lentils make for a hearty tomato stew, are fast cooking and don’t require presoaking.  A popular food crop for 10,000 years, “[Lentils] were used by the Ancient Greek and Middle Eastern societies, and archaeologists have unearthed evidence of them in ancient tombs” (Edible, An Illustrated Guide to the World’s Food Plants, Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 2008, www.nationalgeographic.com/books).  When served with a side salad of fresh garden greens, this red lentils and Roma tomato stew makes for a delicious summer meal.

Stew:
8 Roma tomatoes
2 white onions
1 bulb of garlic (peeled and diced)
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup red lentils
½ cup water
¼ pound feta cubed into very small pieces

Couscous:
½ cup of whole wheat couscous
1 cup of water
2 tablespoons of olive oil
(Two or three generous servings)

Saute onions and the peeled & diced garlic in olive oil for 5-10 minutes over low heat.  (I use Napa Valley Naturals organic olive oil, www.napavalleytrading.com.  According to the bottle, this extra virgin and organic, first cold pressing, olive oil was “from California’s Sacramento Valley and Argentina’s Cordoba Valley.”  [I had purchased the olive oil on sale at the local food co-op for $9.99.  The 25.4 ounce bottle, which is regularly priced at $15.99 at the co-op, was a nice bargain at the sale price.] )  Add sliced Roma tomatoes and simmer for 15 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally.  Rinse and drain ¼ cup of red lentils and add to tomatoes, with ½ cup water.  Simmer for additional 20 minutes.
Prepare couscous by bringing one cup of water with two tablespoons of olive oil to boil; add ½ cup whole wheat couscous and turn off heat. Let stand for 5 minutes for couscous to absorb liquid.
Serve the red lentil tomato stew on the couscous, and top with cubed feta cheese. (FB 8/19/10)

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