Beluga lentil, masa dumpling stew with roasted poblano peppers

With kale, cabbage, dumplings, and a number of spices, this is a flavourful and filling stew. This makes 1 large bowl or 2 small ones. Garnished here with a little nutritional yeast and sour cashew cream.


For the stew
1 poblano pepper, cored and seeded
3 cups water, divided
1/4 cup lentils
1/2T smoked paprika
1t dried ground cumin
1/2t dried ground coriander
1/4t dried red chilis (I use 1/2t)
1/4t black pepper, freshly ground
1/2t dried oregano, rubbed
1 cup green cabbage, shredded (I use coleslaw mix)
1/2T fresh garlic, minced
1T fresh scallion, minced
1/2 cup tomato passata (or puree)
1 cup green curly kale, roughly chopped
2T masa harina mixed with 1/4 cup warm water
Coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste

For the dumplings
1/2 cup masa harina
1T tapioca flour
1/2T milled flax seed
A good pinch coarse sea salt
1/3 – 1/2 cup hot water

Optional: You can use vegetable stock with this for a little extra flavour, but you may find it superfluous. Garnish with capers, flat leaf parsley, black or white sesame seeds, nutritional yeast, black olives, or cilantro for a little extra flavour. While the stew uses masa harina as the
thickening agent, cornstarch, tapioca flour, and arrowroot flour will also work.


Start with the stew, and then the dumplings.

Preheat the oven to 450F. Core and seed the poblano. Cut into quarters length-wise and roast until lightly blistered. Expect about 20 – 30 minutes, but ovens vary. Use the colour and skin texture of the pepper as your guide. Remove from heat. Set aside to cool. Coarsely chop and
add to the stew when the lentils are ready.

In a medium pan with a lid, bring 1/2 cup water to a simmer. Add the lentils and kombu. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes. Drain the lentils (reserving the kombu).

Either dry the pan, or use another to toast the dry spices for 2 -3 minutes or until they’re nice and aromatic. Add the lentils, kombu, remaining water. Return to a light simmer. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer another 5 – 10 minutes until the lentils are still lightly firm but done.

When the lentils are soft, add the poblano, cabbage, garlic, and scallions. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer another 10 minutes or so until the cabbage is lightly wilted but still a little crisp.

While the stew simmers, make the dumplings. Mix the masa, tapioca, salt, and flax. Whisking with a fork, add the hot water. Mix and knead until a solid but elastic dough forms. If you need to add additional hot water, do so. Roll into balls, about 1T in size. Let them dry on the cutting board will the soup finishes.

When the cabbage is the right texture, uncover and bring the pan to a simmer on medium high. Remove the kombu. Add the dumplings and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Add the passata and stir to combine. Stirring
continuously, add the masa solution. Simmer another 2-3 minutes uncovered, stirring regularly until the masa has thickened. Remove from heat. Add the kale. Stir to combine. Let stand 2 minutes for the kale to wilt and the stew to cool.

Season to taste. Ladle out. Garnish with nutritional yeast, sour sesame or cashew cream, white or black sesame seeds, minced black olives, capers, parsley, cilantro or whatever you enjoy.