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Tropical Lentil Stew

All Costa Ricans have their own recipe for this stew. This is mine. The list of ingre- dients is long but the preparation is simple. If you don’t have all the spices on hand, eliminate up to two. Doing so will alter the taste but the dish will still be delicious.


Tropical Lentil Stew Recipe


8 cups (2 quarts) vegetable broth
1 1⁄2 cups brown, green, or black beluga lentils
2 large sweet potatoes (about 1 pound each), peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 cup canned tomato sauce
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried ground ginger
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cloves
1⁄2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 medium ripe bananas, peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch-thick slices
2 cups pineapple chunks


Mix the broth, lentils, sweet potatoes, onion, tomato sauce, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, salt, and pepper in a large pot or Dutch oven.
Bring to a boil over high heat.
Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the lentils and sweet potatoes are tender, 50 to 60 minutes.
Use an immersion blender to partially puree the soup, leaving its overall texture slightly chunky.
Or ladle about half the soup into a large blender, cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel, and blend until smooth before stirring this puree back into the pot.
Ladle into 6 serving bowls and top each with 1⁄3 cup of the banana slices and 1⁄3 cup of the pineapple chunks.

Cooking Tips

Peeled and cored pineapple chunks are available in most supermarkets’ produce sections in the refrigerator case.

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