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Serves four

1 cup dried green lentils, rinsed

1½ tablespoons mild olive oil

12 ounces boneless lamb steak (from the leg), cut into ½-inch cubes

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Freshly ground black pepper

1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

2/3 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped

3/4 cup ruby port

1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

1. Cover the lentils with 2 inches of water in a 2-quart pot and heat over medium-high heat. Once the water comes to a boil, partially cover the pot and reduce the heat so the water maintains a low boil. Cook until the lentils are just tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain in a colander.

2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a deep 10-inch nonstick saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Season the lamb cubes with salt and pepper to taste. Once the oil is hot, add the lamb and cook for four to five minutes, tossing two or three times, until the meat loses its raw look; transfer to a plate.

3. Return the pan to the heat. Add the remaining ½ tablespoon of oil, reduce the heat to low and stir in the onion. Cook for about four minutes or until the onion is soft. Return the lentils to the pan, along with the cherries and the port, stirring to incorporate.

4. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Return the lamb and any accumulated juices to the pan; cook until the port has all but evaporated; the mixture should be moist but not soupy.

5. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Nutritional information per serving: 500 calories, 31 g protein, 50 g carbohydrates, 10 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 55 mg cholesterol, 150 mg sodium, 17 g dietary fiber, 14 g sugar

From Stephanie Witt Sedgwick, The Washington Post

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