Sometimes it's fun to skip a trip to the store, and just go through the fridge to see what wants to be made into dinner. This warming pot-full of goodness was inspired by a bag of regular old green lentils and a few stray vegetables that needed to be used. As with most stews, feel free to use whatever you have on hand. The ingredients and quantities here are only suggestions, and while the surprising Secret Ingredient in this is sesame tahini, if you don't happen to have any, don't make a special trip to the market. Your stew will still be good without it.
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cups lentils
2 - 3 cups potatoes, chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
1 - 2 carrots, chopped
1 zucchini, grated
1 bunch chard, chopped fine
1/4 - 1/2 cup sesame tahini
Seasonings - fresh thyme, cumin, tamari, and salt and pepper - all to taste
Sort and rinse the lentils, cover with water in your soup pot, and boil them for about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse the lentils, and set them aside for a few minutes. This step cleans them really well, reducing the foam that comes with cooking lentils, and also reducing the gas that comes from eating them.
Steam-fry the onion in a little water for about 3 minutes, until it begins to soften.
Add the broth, lentils, and potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked but still firm. Add water if necessary to keep everything covered.
Add the carrot and zucchini, and continue to cook until the carrots are softened but still have a bit of crunch to them.
Add the chard and cook about 5 minutes.
Check to be sure the lentils are done, then add the tahini and seasonings, and more water if you like.
Serve with any favorite bread. We had a nice homemade Ethiopian Soda Bread.