Thursday, 19 January 2012

Curried Lentil Stew

Curried Lentil Stew by SashaWarner
Curried Lentil Stew, a photo by SashaWarner on Flickr.
This is by far my favourite slow cooker recipe. Have you noticed all the slow cooker recipes headlining the magazines in stores right now? Apparently I’m not the only on stressing about finding time to cook the family dinner these days.

And speaking of stress, it does the funniest things to you, eh? Like makes you forgetful. Believe me, the can of coconut milk and the diced tomatoes went through a lot to get into my slow cooker today… thanks to a whole lot of forgetfulness.

On Saturday, I was SO on the ball. I decided to go grocery shopping before Shawn left for work at 8:30am. I rolled into the parking lot at 7:10am. With Nevin. I felt like an Ironwoman. I was checking out by 8am – ahead of schedule, for those of you keeping track. Except that I forgot my wallet. Who forgets their wallet when they are going to the grocery store? Apparently the make-up free mother with unbrushed hair and a toddler over in aisle 4. It wasn’t busy and the checkout lady was super friendly, so she agreed to suspend my order and place my groceries aside while I rushed home for some money. I only live a few minutes from the store, so I still made it back home, with the kid and the food, before Shawn had to leave. Bonus: Shawn was in the shower while I did the dash of shame through the mudroom to grab my wallet, so I didn’t even have to deal with a week’s worth of teasing from him.

I had a bunch of prep to do for Nevin’s birthday party, so I was busy in the kitchen all morning. I was surprised at myself a couple times because I had forgotten to pick up a couple of things that I had expressedly written on my list. Stress and a toddler will do that to you. By the third thing missing, I realized I had left a bag in the car, now in Smiths Falls with Shawn. Not wanting it to freeze, I called Shawn and asked to talk it into work. Except it wasn’t in the car.

My phone call to the grocery store:
Sasha: Hi, this is kind of a strange question, but did anyone happen to leave behind a bag of groceries this morning?
Lady: Oh! You must be the girl who forgot her wallet! I heard about you.
Sasha, blushing: Yes… so you have my bag of groceries?
Lady: Actually it was a bag of groceries and a club pack of cereal.

Of course it was, I knew that.... no, I didn’t. Nice work, Sasha. Stop stressing, and just remember your groceries, my dear.

After the jump, you’ll be rewarded with my favourite slow cooker recipe. Stay low stress and enjoy, my friends! And please comment with links to your favourite slow cooker recipes… we could all use a little help (clearly!).


Curried Lentil Stew


1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry French lentils, soaked 2 hours or overnight (last time, I used a can of lentils)
One 28-oz can diced tomatoes, with liquid
One 14-oz can coconut milk
1 cup chicken broth or water
2 large carrots, diced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
½ cup raisons
1 ½ tsp curry powder
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp turmeric
1 ½ tsp salt, or less to taste
2 cups fresh spinach

To Garnish (any or all):
-chopped basil leaves, cilantro or parsley
-plain yogurt
-diced avocado
-green onion, chopped
-goat cheese, crumbled

Directions
1.In a frypan, heat olive oil and sauté onion and garlic. Transfer all ingredients (except spinach and garnishes) to slow cooker and cook on Low setting 7 to 8 hours, or until lentils and sweet potatoes are tender.
2.Before serving, fold in spinach. Garnish with your choice of any or all of the garnishes.

I’ve done it without sautéing the onion and garlic, and it was fine. I also have yet to remember to stir in the spinach at the end… also fine. And I’ve never soaked the lentils… fine.  Yogurt garnish is a must.

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