It's January, which means it's cold, and we are all craving warm, comforting meals that make us feel like we've been wrapped up in a big, cozy blanket. But it's also January, which means we are all struggling to cope with the vast overindulgence that just is November and December. Enter dishes like this hearty-yet-healthy stew jam-packed with fiber-rich lentils, iron-filled kale, and just enough fat to keep you from going through rich food withdrawals. I've seasoned it with my Italian Countryside Spice Blend, whose porcini mushroom powder base not only elevates the flavor but also packs an antioxidant punch to round it all out. And as a bonus, this recipe makes A GALLON of soup, so you'll be able to freeze several portions for future you to enjoy the next time you need a hug in bowl form.
So grab that Dutch oven you got for Christmas, and let's get cooking!
Lentil, Kale & Pork Stew
Makes 4 quarts
1 pound lean ground pork
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1 tablespoon Italian Countryside Spice Blend
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups dried red or brown lentils
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
8 cups loosely-packed Tuscan kale (1-2 bunches), cut into 2-inch pieces
Chopped fresh parsley for serving (optional)
In a large Dutch oven or pot, cook pork over medium-high heat, breaking it into small pieces, until starting to brown. Add onion, celery, carrot, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened slightly. Add fennel and Italian Countryside Spice Blend, and stir to coat.
Add chicken stock, crushed tomatoes, kale, and lentils and stir to combine. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender but not completely mushy, 35-40 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with chopped parsley, if desired. Serve with a light salad and some crusty bread.