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Three Bean Stew

What you need: 

4 oz. green lentils
1 carrot, diced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 inch stick of cinnamon
2 whole cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoon tomato paste, diluted with 1/2 cup water
1 bay leaf
1 14-oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 14-oz can chick peas, rinsed and drained
1 cup vegetable broth
1-2 hot red chillies, chopped

What you do: 

I made this last week as a variation on the beans-and-rice theme. Next time, I plan to try using dried beans, rather than canned ones; I think the cruchier texture of dried chickpeas will add to the contrast.
1. Put the lentils in a pot with 2 cups of cold water. Bring to the boil, and let it simmer for 20 mins. After 10 minutes, throw in the carrot.
2. Toast the cumin seeds in a small cast-iron pan, throw in the oregano, leave for a few seconds, then tip them into a spice grinder. Add the cinnamon and cloves, and grind them all together. Add the salt and paprika, and set aside.
3. Water-saute the onion and garlic. While it is cooking, add the spice mixture. When the onion is soft, add the diluted tomato paste, and allow to simmer for a couple of minutes longer.
4. Tip the lentils, with their cooking water, into the pot with the onions and spices. Add the bay leaf, canned beans, and chopped chillies, with enough broth to cover the beans, but not too much -this is a stew, not a soup. Simmer for another 10-15 mins.
5. Serve with rice and garlic pickle.

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