This last week, Mr. Wendy and I have been traveling through the Midwest visiting my family. Because we are generally the pickiest eaters in the room (thanks to our aversion to meat), we often do a fair share of the cooking when we’re houseguests. This trip was no exception. We made my grandma some simple bean tacos and a tomato and basil pasta. We made my mom the polenta pie I posted two weeks ago. But my favorite creation of the trip was the lentil/potato/corn stew we made for my sister.
My wonderful little sister moved from New York to Detroit about a year ago, and this was our first visit to her new home. We got to enjoy the spectacular view from her loft in the Cass Corridor, and she graciously lent us her car during the days (while she was off training new corps members for Teach for America) so we could explore the city.
One of our stops on our first day was Detroit’s Eastern Market: a huge farmer’s market, brimming with local produce and interesting made-in-Michigan delicacies. We broke a $20 and walked away with cherries, blueberries, lentils, tomatoes, corn on the cob, baby potatoes, parsley, thyme, an onion … and change. Awesome.
We remembered that Sister had garlic, olive oil, and vegetable broth in her pantry; we knew the location of a good bakery a block from her house; and a plan emerged.
By the time she arrived home from work, the loft was rich with the scent of the simmering soup. The potatoes and lentils formed a hearty base, but the sweet corn—cut straight from the cob, juicy tomatoes, and bright green herbal notes made this a perfect late summer soup. Throw in a loaf of fresh sour dough bread and some ice-cold beers, and we had a flavorful peasant-like meal around which to swap stories and catch up.
Farmer's Market Stew
1 c lentils
1 ½ c onion
5 c diced potatoes
3 cloves garlic
3 TBSP olive oil
3 cups corn (4 ears)
4 c vegetable broth
6 campari-sized tomatoes (about 2 cups)
1 c. chopped parsley
1-2 Tbs. fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and garlic and cook over medium-low until the onion is quite soft. Add the broth, potatoes, and lentils. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 30 minutes (until the lentils are tender); if the liquid gets too low, add a little water. Add the corn, tomatoes, and herbs, and simmer another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and keep hot until ready to serve.