September 03

Crockpot Chickpea, Squash, & Lentil Stew

For close to a week, a friend was telling me that her neighbor had given her a huge squash (or ‘squish’, as she calls them) and she had no idea what to use it for. While visiting with her, she showed me the two huge squash [squashes?] the neighbor had given her. She offered me the largest of the two, admitting she wouldn’t be able to use both of them, let alone all of one of them, and all the thoughts of the world went flying out of my head while I tried to gather the inspiration on how to put my new ‘squish’ to good use.

I went to some of my go-to blogs. I looked through a couple cookbooks and even some Everyday Food magazines. Nothing was really coming up. The Fellow™ gave some suggestions as to what to do, including frying some up. I’ll be honest – that didn’t sound all that appealing. If there’s one thing I cannot do, it’s fry. I mean, I have a Fry Daddy type machine that makes awesome french fries and tortilla chips, but when it comes to dredging meats or other miscellaneous food in their own breading and managing to not have it slough off in the hot oil, I get a big fat F for fail. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. But on the other hand, I’m glad I suck at it. It means we eat less fried foods. Any more, I enjoy oven baked french fries and use my fryer for tortilla chips and that’s it. Even then, it’s once in a blue moon that I make nachos from scratch, but damn is that thing handy to have instead of the painful way I used to do it. And I do mean painful. I probably have hot oil burns on my body somewhere.

Back to the squash.

When I lack inspiration and imagination, I turn to Pinterest. As much as I hate the layout (it annoys me to no end and gives me a headache), I try to look beyond that downside for me and find the other good in it. It has brought me to food blogs I never would have found on my own. It has shared with me recipes that no amount of Google searching for certain keywords would have ever yielded. This is where I found my crockpot recipe I’m going to share. Right off the bat it sounded delicious. The amount of time that needed to go into it, though, (8-10 hours) seemed a bit daunting. One of those meals that had to be started relatively early in the day if I didn’t want to have to wait to go to bed for it to cool and pack into freezer containers.

Following the recipe as closely as possible, save for the amount of squash necessary (I think I used way more than it called for), the end result made 4 delicious quarts; one having been gifted to my ‘squish’-giving friend and three stocked in the freezer for a cold autumn evening. I can’t wait to have it with a hunk of day old rustic bread.

Is fall here yet?!

Crockpot Chickpea, Squash, and Lentil Stew

Source:  Eat, Live, Run [crock pot chickpea, butternut squash and red lentil stew]
makes 3 1/2 quarts

Ingredients

1 yellow onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon olive or canola oil
1 large carrot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2-3 teaspoon garam masala
1 butternut squash (about 3 lbs–average sized), peeled and chopped
28 ounces diced tomatoes in tomato juice
1 quart vegetable broth beef broth
1 cup red lentils
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1-2 teaspoons sea salt (to taste)
fresh minced cilantro for serving

Directions

1) Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion, carrot and jalapeno and saute for about six minutes. Add the minced garlic and saute for 30 more seconds, and then add the garam masala, stirring well to coat. Take off heat.

2) Place the chickpeas, butternut squash, canned diced tomatoes, red lentils, vegetable broth and onion mixture in your slow cooker. Turn the heat on LOW and cook for 8-10 hours…the longer you cook, the thicker your stew will be.

3) Season with sea salt to taste and serve with minced cilantro on top. This stew freezes extremely well and will keep in the fridge for up to five days.

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