*Note: I wrote this blog 2 days before heading up to the cabin thinking I’d finish photographing and editing it when we got home. Sadly the trip was cancelled. I thought of re-writing the entire blog but decided against it. I defrosted half of the stew for dinner tonight and made the mash so that I could finish photographing it (don’t mind the pickles, I’m a weirdo and had some on the side lol). So let’s get cozy and pretend we’re spending the weekend in the mountains at a lakeside cabin. We can all use a little vacation from our minds amidst everything going on….
Is Summer coming to an end? It can’t be. We’ve only had 3 good weeks of warm weather!. But we are deep into August and soon muggy nights will turn and when the next full moon rises on September 1st the switch in the air always foretells the coming of Autumn.
It’s 4 pm and I’ve just finished packing. We’ll be driving into the mountains this weekend to spend a few days at my brother-in-laws cabin on Gun Lake. Gun is about 8 kms from the tiny town of Gold Bridge BC. We spend a weekend up there every year; lazy days floating on the lake, fishing and talking around the campfire, beer in hand late into the night.
I made a Lentil Stew this afternoon to share for dinner while we’re there. The forecast is calling for 80% chance of rain Friday and what better than a bowl of warm mashed potatoes smothered in stew. Am I right? I’ve packed it and placed it in the freezer as it won’t be eaten for another 2 days. Heat and serve is my favourite kind of cooking.
I’ll be making the mash with a twist. We try not to eat dairy so I’ll add Coconut milk (instead of butter) so as not to compromise the creaminess factor. It’ll be perfect with a dash of nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Make a pot of mashed potatoes before serving. I trust you know how: Peel and chop potatoes and add to a pot of boiling water. When the potatoes are soft, strain and return to the pot. Add 1/2 cup of coconut milk (or more if you desire) and season with a dash of nutmeg, generous salt and pepper.
For the Lentil Stew: (Makes 8 Portion. Use 1/2 the ingredients for 2-4 guests)
- 2 cups of green or brown lentils
- 2 large onions chopped (I ran them through the food processor = no tears)
- 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 1 tomato diced small
- 1/2 red pepper chopped small
- 2 Tbsp Coconut oil (or your choice of cooking oil)
- 6 Tbsp white wine
- 6 cups Broth (I used 2 cups of veggie broth and 4 cups of mushroom broth)
- 4 cups of chopped white mushrooms
- 4 Tbsp of Soy Sauce
- 2 Tbsp of Balsamic Vinegar
- Fresh parsley chopped
- 2 tsp each of dried thyme and oregano
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1/2 can of coconut milk (reserve the other half for the mash)
- 1 Tbsp of cornstarch
- Sea salt and pepper ( I use white pepper for cooking) to taste
Rinse lentils under running water, strain and set aside.
Heat oil in a large deep skillet or pot over medium heat and stir in the diced onion, the minced garlic and fry until fragrant.
- Add the tomato followed by the red pepper and fry with onions for a few more minutes.
- Add the white wine and let the alcohol cook out of it for a few seconds.
Add mushrooms, fresh parsley, thyme, oregano, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and mix together for about 3 – 5 minutes.
Now add the lentils and 6 cups of broth and the spices (cumin, paprika, onion and garlic powder). Cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes or until the lentils are soft and most of the broth has absorbed.
Once the lentils are tender, mix 1/2 a can of coconut milk and cornstarch together in a small bowl and add this mixture to the lentil stew. Cook for a further 5 minutes or until the desired thickness is reached. Season again with soy sauce (I did) if needed.
Serve over warm Mash and watch the rain fall over the lake outside the window… or at least imagine it.
Thanks for joining me today. Wishing you a very happy Summer wherever you are.