I’m still to taste a Caribbean-style stewed lentils to rival my mom’s… I still look forward to the bowls prepped for the freezer she usually sends for me when she cooks up a batch. This recipe came about one night when I was craving her lentils, but the freezer was bare. I did find a can of lentils in the pantry, so I did what we “Caribbean” people do best.. improvise! With the addition of diced pumpkin and stewed tomatoes, this version is QUICK and very tasty.
1 large can lentils
1 can stewed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup diced pumpkin
1 cup veg stock
1 teaspoon browning
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 large shallot (chopped)
3 cloves garlic (crushed)
2 scallions (chopped)
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bay leaf
1/2 scotch bonnet pepper
Important. If doing this recipe gluten free, please go through the entire list of ingredients to make sure they meet with your specific gluten free dietary needs, especially the stock you choose to use. Carrot is a good substitute for the diced pumpkin or you may use any of your fav squash.
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan on a medium flame then add the shallot and garlic, turn the heat down and cook for 2-3 minutes on low. Then add black pepper, scallions and diced pumpkin. Turn the heat up to medium/low and stir well.. cook for another minute or so.
Toss in the slices of scotch bonnet pepper or any pepper you have access to. Or you can leave it out if you’re worried about the heat. Remember to not include any seeds if you’re overly concerned about the raw heat and be sure to wash your hands with soap and water immediately after handling the pepper.
Now turn the heat up to medium/high and go in with the lentils (direct from the can) along with the can of stewed tomatoes, sugar, bay leaf, parsley, veg stock (use chicken if you’re not making this vegan) and salt. Bring to a boil. Add the browning and stir well.
The sugar will help to balance the sort of tartness of the canned tomatoes and the browning will give it a wonderful color and caramel undertone flavor. Reduce to a gentle boil, cover the pot and allow it to cook for about 20-25 minutes.
The pumpkin should be tender at this pint. It’s time to personalize things a bit, but first remove the bay leaf and discard – it did it’s thing already, Check for salt and adjust. Then you can use the back of your spoon to crush the pumpkin a bit (if you so desire). If it’s too runny, crushing the pumpkin will thicken things up a bit. The first night I had this with rice, then next morning I had some with toast and the last bit I enjoyed as a soup for lunch. I encourage you to give this #meatfree dish a try.. it’s incredible. Still not my mom’s though.
Do you own a copy of my cookbook ?- The Vibrant Caribbean Pot 100 Traditional And Fusion recipes Vol 2