Lentils have always been a source of protein in parts of Europe, much of the Middle East, and India. They were probably brought to Africa by the spice traders, and they have been utilized in cooking since the time of the ancient Egyptians and the Sumerians. The are a simple staple that can take on a lot of seasoning and spice.
- 1/2 pound green lentils
- * Water to cover
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 pound veal or beef shin, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons cayenne
- 7 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup diced potatoes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly group white pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon jucie
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Place the lentils in a large, heavy casserole, and cover them with cold water. Bring the water to a boil, reduce theheat to a light, rolling boil, and cook for 10 minutes; then drain the lentils and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet, add the onion and saute for 1 minute. Add the garlic and the chopped shin and saute for 30 seconds, stirrring frequently. Stir in the cinnamone, cumin and cayenne. Pour this mixture int the large casserole with the lentils and add the chicken stock. Bring the micture to a boil, skimming the residue off the surface. Cover and simmer for 1 hour until the meat is tender.
Add the carrots, celery, potatoes, salt, and pepper and simmer for 30 minutes. Just before serving stir in the lemon juice and cilantro.