Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sweet Potato Lentil Stew

With cooking, I tend to repeat the same tried-and-true recipes over and over again. It's simplest to serve a meal I know my family will eat! The repetition gets a little dull, though, so every now and then I comb through my cookbooks to find something new to try. This week I decided to make Sweet Potato Lentil Stew for the first time. It's a dish that seems more appropriate for autumn, but with our lingering chilly weather, I have been in the mood for warm suppers that have simmered all day.

Before we had children, my husband and I ate lentils a couple of times a week. Lentil soup, lentil spaghetti sauce, Mexican lentil casserole, lentil salad... We love lentils! The children, however, are not fans, so lentils fell by the wayside, and we have them just a few times a year now.

My husband is not a fan of sweet potatoes. Given the children's dislike of lentils and my husband's dislike of sweet potatoes, Sweet Potato Lentil Stew seems like an odd recipe for me to try, but I like both those things, so with this meal, I was aiming to please myself, and the others would just have to deal.

It turned out quite delicious, and the happy news is that my husband liked it just as much as I did. The kids were iffy, as I fully expected. They grudgingly ate a bowlful, but didn't ask for seconds.

Sweet Potato Lentil Stew (adapted from Fix and Forget It Lightly)

4 cups vegetable broth
3 cups (about 1.25 lbs) sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (I had two largish sweet potatoes and didn't measure how many cups they yielded when diced)
1.5 cups lentils, sorted and rinsed
3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro or parsley (I didn't have fresh, so I tossed in about 1 T dried cilantro)

Combine all ingredients into a 4-quart slow cooker (unless you are using fresh parsley or cilantro, in which case you add it just before serving). Cover and cook on low 5-6 hours. I cooked for about 7 hours because I was worried the lentils wouldn't be done after 6 hours.

The recipe gives optional add-ins to stir into the pot after cooking: 1/3 cup raisins, 1/4 cup chopped nuts, 1/4 cup grated coconut. I just put those ingredients on the table and let individuals sprinkle them into their own bowls as desired. I thought the raisins were a bit much, and think they would have tasted better if they had been cooked with the stew, but it's not an addition I will make. However, the sprinkle of coconut and walnuts I added to my bowl were scrumptious! I had sweetened coconut on hand, and that little burst of sweetness was yummy!

The sweet potatoes were quite squishy at the end of the cooking period, so I smooshed them with my spoon in my bowl. I didn't smash them in the cooking pot because I wanted certain picky eaters to be able to eat around them if said picky eaters found it necessary to do so.

I will definitely be making this stew again!

No pictures of the stew, since it doesn't look quite as good as it tastes!


Glenda said...

Thanks for sharing the recipe, Tracy; printed it off to try soon!

Anonymous said...

That looks like something that everyone in my house would protest! I'll add it to my list next week, even though I only have small orange lentils on hand, and that might be very orangy! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Well, I made it. :-) I subbed some curry for the cumin, and my add-ons were sauteed apples.

It was quite good, actually. The kids weren't 100% thrilled, though AC ate without too much complaining.

It looked like cat hack, though. :-) I put a photo up on flickr:

besomom said...

Leila, I am cracking up! Cat hack indeed, especially when they barf because they ate too much too fast so the food is not fully digested (at least that's what happens in our house).

Must now scrub that association out of my head if I am ever to make this stew again.

Sauteed apples...mmmmmm.