My co-worker shared this recipe with me last week after she tested it out at home for herself first. We had just gotten some carnival squash with our CSA share that week, and in the never-ending challenge to find a new way to prepare our goodies, this recipe came out on top for the week. The original recipe calls for butternut squash, but really you could use any winter squash, or even sweet potatoes. This is a crock pot recipe, so all you have to do it peel and cut up the squash (the biggest pain by far) and a few other veggies, open a few cans of vegetables, and dump some spices into the crock pot. Voila! Dinner is served in several hours with no further effort from you!
This recipe calls for garam masala, which gives the stew an incredibly rich flavor. Hubby was enchanted by it and said over and over how much he loved the flavor. I have never bought garam masala, but have always made it myself since I have a relatively well-stocked spice cabinet. I use a recipe from Vegetarian Planet, by Didi Emmons. It calls for some whole spices to be ground as you make it, but I’m lazy and I had everything pre-ground in my spice cabinet. If you have whole spices and a way to grind them, the flavor would certainly be a little more robust, but I’ve got no complaints using my pre-ground spices for this mixture–especially when the stew recipe calls for 2-3 teaspoons–you’ll still have plenty of flavor!
1 tablespoon ground white pepper (or peppercorns)
1 teaspoon ground (or whole) cloves
2 teaspoons ground cardamom (if you use whole cardamom pods, use 1 teaspoon)
2 teaspoons ground cumin (or seeds)
1 tablespoon ground (or whole) coriander
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Mix all the spices together in a small container. This makes about 1/4 cup and it will keep in a cool, dark place for a couple of months. Now on to the real reason for this post–the stew!
Winter Squash and Red Lentil Stew (adapted from the blog of Eat Live Run)
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
1 large carrot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2-3 teaspoons garam masala
2 medium carnival squashes (or other winter squash), peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in tomato juice
1 quart vegetable broth
1 cup red lentils
1 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1-2 teaspoons salt
Throw all the ingredients in the crock pot, cover, and cook on HIGH heat for 7-8 hours.
Notes: the original recipe calls for cooking the onion, carrot, jalapeno, oil, garlic, and garam masala in a skillet for about 5 minutes. I skipped this step (more because I forgot to do it) but I still think the stew was wonderful. The original recipe calls for cooking on LOW for up to 10 hours, so adjust your heat setting and timing as appropriate. Also, the original recipe calls for garnishing with cilantro. I meant to add some frozen cilantro to the mix, but forgot. It was fine without it. I served mine with chopped roasted peanuts instead.
And finally…more soup preparations. Since my surgery is just over a week out, I spent yesterday morning in the kitchen roasting, peeling, chopping, dicing, and measuring ingredients for 3 soups that Hubby can prepare for us in the weeks following my surgery. Hubby can cook, but he usually doesn’t because I enjoy it so much. And he’s not as adventurous in the kitchen as me, he tends to follow a recipe to the T. I figured this way, when we want some soup for dinner, all he has to do is pull a bag from the freezer and empty the contents in a pot at the appropriate time. What could be easier? The ingredients below are for a butternut squash chili, which I am excited to try.
Hubby and I skipped the gym this morning, but we are planning a trail run this afternoon with The Stinker (on fresh snow, no less!). I went to the gym Friday and lifted weights, did some core exercises, and ran some laps. Then Saturday I went for a much needed trail run. I think I overdid it a little at the gym because my knee was feeling funky on my run yesterday and my arms are killing me! I think it was the last set of pushups that did me in–I positioned my arms under my sternum, so that my thumbs and forefingers formed a triangle. My triceps are so sore I can barely lift my arms over my head. So I think it was good idea to skip Zumba and the core class this morning and give my body a bit of a rest.