These are them.

On the menu: Lentil Coriander Stew

How do I describe PhD brain?

Lentil Coriander Stew ~ Documenting our Dinner.

Seriously. The last year and a half has been both the greatest and the worst for my cognitive ability. I have learned a shit-ton about bees: how they move, where they live, what they look like, their life cycle…lots of things. Bees are infinitely interesting. I’ve gained this knowledge, though, at the expense of short term memory loss, mixing up words when I speak, and nearly constant fatigue. So please don’t ask me to tell you anything I’ve learned lately, because a) I won’t remember and b) I won’t be able to explain it clearly.

Lentil Coriander Stew ~ Documenting our Dinner.

But this doesn’t just apply to my work. It’s real bad at home. Here’s one example: I bought a new set of sheets on a whim the other day. When I told Kevin about it, he said: “Great! Now we have a replacement set for the ones that ripped last month.” I had absolutely no recollection of these ripped sheets. I figured I was away at work when it happened, but he tells me I was there. I saw it happen. Why didn’t I remember that? Worse, why couldn’t I even recall the incident when he described it in detail? I’d tell you another example because this happens a lot, but ironically, I can’t recall the details of other such incidents. I’ve always had a really good memory, but all this bee business has really put a damper on it. Perhaps I bought the sheets out of some subconscious cue or something.  That doesn’t make these mind-blanking incidents any easier to deal with, though.

Lentil Coriander Stew ~ Documenting our Dinner.

I haven’t forgotten this stew I made a couple of weeks ago.  I just haven’t been able to find the right words to say along with it. Maybe these are them, maybe not. But I really just have to tell you to try this recipe. It’s one I tested for Food52 recently—their one-pot meal contest has my name written all the heck over it!—and it’s a good one. We’ve been eating a lot of lentils this month. There is a shelf in one of our cupboards dedicated to dried beans and grains, and I’m trying to whittle it down a bit.

Lentil Coriander Stew ~ Documenting our Dinner.

Have you ever sliced an onion pole to pole? It’s weird. I felt like I was breaking all the laws of cooking when I did it, but it produced these gorgeous strings of onion that melted away into the stew and added great flavor. I learned that Italian-style turkey sausage is a thing, and it’s not bad, though cutting it into coins as the recipe suggests was impossible due to how soft it was. Notice the teeny meatballs in the photos. But, oh, friends, the coriander just killed it. I use a bit of coriander here and a bit there, but I’ve never seasoned a dish with a copious amount of coriander. The dominance of that oft-elusive spice was the primary reason I made this stew. It made our kitchen smell all tingly. It was bright and warm. Finished with a hit of lemon and a bit of Greek yogurt, this stew is one to remember.

Lentil Coriander Stew
from deanna1001 at Food52

1 pound Italian style turkey sausage, sweet or spicy, in link form
2 large onions, sliced thin pole to pole
2 1/4 teaspoons toasted and ground coriander seeds
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups dry green lentils
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Greek yogurt and thinly sliced lemon for garnish

Slice sausages into 1/2 inch coins, or slice links and form tiny meatballs. Brown in a dutch oven over medium heat until lightly browned. Add onions and stir. Cover pot and cook until onions are tender but not browned, about 10 minutes. Drain off excess fat. Stir in coriander, salt and ginger. Add lentils and 7 cups of water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer 50 minutes. Stir in zest and juice of lemon. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve in bowls with a dollop of yogurt and a thin slice of lemon.

This entry was posted in Beans, Dinner, Lunch, Soups/Stews and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to These are them.

  1. chef mimi says:

    So good to see an honest lentil soup on such a pretty blog! Bravo!

  2. emma says:

    Love the looks of those cute lil meatballs! And hell yes to not editing out your swears;)

    My life is pretty stressful right now, but I sure don’t envy yours (though the playing with dead bees is cool). I have such a terrible memory about so many things, pretty sure Eli thinks that a) I’m always playing dumb to get attention or something, and b) I’m actually kind of dumb. I can’t help it, it’s my memory!

    • Brianne says:

      I preferred the wee meatballs, too. And I certainly wasn’t editing out any swears when I tried to cut coins at first :)

      I think if I did what you did for a living, all my brain cells would have frozen over by now. Stress is bad for brains. STRESS! BRRRRAAINSSS!!!

  3. I think the whole memory loss thing is a sign of a need for vacation, seriously. I’ve reached one point in life where I could no longer say a sentence in just one language, but started mixing all I knew :) But that’s nothing a bit of long sleep and a good holiday cannot fix :)

    • Brianne says:

      I sleep SO MUCH MORE these days than I ever have! I am usually a morning person, but find it much more difficult to get out of bed at a decent hour on the weekends. And I keep trying to go to bed earlier during the week so I feel refreshed the next morning…but that’s not exactly happening :P We have our spring break in one month; I cannot wait until then!

  4. carey says:

    Oh man, YES. I call that stretched-too-thin brain, but PhD brain sounds way cooler. It’s kinda scary, but I’m glad someone else experiences it too. (It’s been happening to me for the past couple years, and I was mildly worried that there might be something actually wrong with my brain.)

    Also, I love that you test the Food52 contest recipes. Sometimes I think I’ll do that, but I usually wind up on the couch eating popcorn and having a mild nervous breakdown instead. ;) I love green lentils, and they’re one of those things I don’t make nearly enough. This stew looks pretty perfect, especially with all that coriander and lemon and yogurt to balance out their heartiness. (:

    • Brianne says:

      You get it, too?! Stretched-too-thin brain. It sucks, but it’s good to hear that I’m not alone! I’ve been fretting about it for some time now.

      I really like the Food52 model of testing recipes. It gives me a chance to try things I would never think of, and it broadens my culinary thinking every time! I mean, a stew seasoned solely with coriander? Who does that? I always look forward to what they do next over there. And now so many of my favorite bloggers (you know, like you!) are writing for them. It’s just a fun place to be.

  5. shannon says:

    i hate it when i feel out of balance with my home/work/creative life: it sucks. breaks are totally key for that, at least for me: like stepping back from everything and just saying “listen, you: BREATHE” to myself actually works for curing all sorts of maddening things like writers’ block, forgetfulness, etc. I’m feeling the need to do that lately, actually: all this snow an random illness has me really addled: i’ve been shoving the feelings aside, but probably i could use a little break myself.

    • Brianne says:

      Oh, hey…probably shouldn’t wait 2 weeks to return your comment, Shannon! Yikes. You are on your well deserved break now! Stepping back is something I’m working on lately. Taking a minute to reframe and refocus is so helpful! Thanks for the advice.

  6. elizabeth says:

    I hate that feeling of being stretched too thin, and breaks are necessary but I feel like they don’t come often enough. But that does remind me that it’s time to start figuring out where we are going to go to unplug for a bit this year.

    We have several containers of dried grains and lentils in our pantry that have been sorely overlooked; I think I need to remedy that by making this stew.

    • Brianne says:

      Oooh, vacay! We’re taking a bit of us time when we go to Wisconsin in May to visit my family. It’s going to be crazy until then.

      I think I need to make a stew that uses the last of all the grain bags and boxes. We have small amounts of too many things; not enough to hold a recipe on their own, but enough that they needn’t go to waste.

  7. Oh God YES. Coriander in lentil stews is a wondrous thing, indeed. If you’re wanting to try another meat option, next time, I can vouch that lamb with lentils + coriander is ridiculously good. I haven’t had lentils in ages, this is making me crave a wicked good lentil stew, though. And the bees!! Oh goodness me how I wish we lived in the same town so we could go out together and I could pick your brain about all your bee business, I know your memory is fragile at the moment but I promise I would be patient in our theoretical get-together. I feel like that kind of memory stuff always happened to me too, especially during my thesis senior year. I couldn’t remember the most basic stuff, like where on campus I parked my car. Not where in the parking lot it was, but which parking lot I parked it in. I think that focusing SO MUCH on one part of your brain temporarily dulls the memory facilities of the others. But do not fret, you will not be in school forever, and once you graduate and don’t have to study an insane amount of text for tests anymore your brain will get back to normal. And then we can talk about bees :D

    • Brianne says:

      LAMB! That sounds like the best idea. Thank you for the kind words, friend. I can’t wait to get to a point in all this nonsense where we could chat bees and I’d sound coherent! Soon.

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