Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Crockpot Chicken and Lentil Stew

Okay Crock Pot fans, this is a recipe for you!

I am getting ready to leave for the weekend for my annual Scrap Booking Retreat with my girlfriends. That meant we needed our annual trip to Craft's Direct to get all of our supplies last Monday. That place is craft heaven!

Normally on days like this when I will be gone I tell the husband he is on his own and I don't feel one bit bad about it! That man is spoiled! I would love to have had 3 meals a day all thought out, planned, shopped for, and cooked nearly everyday of my life for the past 16 years! But this time I was feeling nice and decided to throw some things in the crock pot quick for him before I left.

I looked in the fridge and cupboards quick and started tossing.

The usual suspects. A few carrots, couple stalks of celery, and one onion.

I had about 3/4 of a container of chicken broth in the fridge that I poured in but vegetable broth would work to make it vegan/vegetarian.

Yum! I love lentils. I forget about them and don't eat them nearly enough. I used 3/4 cup of each color just for some variety.

I ended up adding a second can of tomatoes and a can of tomato paste but one can of chick peas was plenty. Don't forget the tomato paste just because I didn't give you a picture of it now!

I L-O-V-E all the spices Pepper Creek Farms makes. Surprisingly enough I usually find them at TJ Maxx or HomeGoods stores but you can order directly from them online. I used a couple teaspoons of the sweet paprika but smoked would be excellent as well. If you can't find either than just use the regular stuff.

A dash of salt, teaspoon of pepper, and some garlic powder. Next time I will just use fresh garlic but I had forgotten and I was in a big hurry! I think I even ended up adding some parsley and oregano too but that hurry up mode is to blame for lack of pictures.

I never make a soup/stew without this magic ingredient. Usually 2 big spoonfuls go into the pot. It adds such tremendous flavor. I am happy to report that I have seen a vegetable based one now too for you vegetarians out there. I haven't tried it yet but I am sure it will be just as good!

I gave that all a stir and then I added about 3 chicken breasts to the pot quick before putting the lid on, turning it to low, and hoping for the best!

Now here is the dilemma.
I was not home.
This was made to make life easy on the hubster.
He is a man.
He said thanks. That was very thoughtful of you.
He took no pictures!
He is fired as a food blogger.

I don't know how to explain that. My kids even wait to start eating their dinner usually because I am taking a picture before we pray and eat. My apologies for no pictures of the finished product. I can however report that it was in fact delicious! I had leftovers for lunch the next day. It tastes very much like a stew without the fatty meat and I think next time I will make it vegetarian just because.

Just a few notes:
*Cook this on low for 5-6 hours. Lentils don't really take that long to get soft but the chicken needs that time. So if you leave the chicken out you could reduce the time.
*When the cooking is nearly finished take the chicken out and shred it. It will fall apart easily. Then return it to the stew and stir.
* Make a big batch. Eat the leftovers and freeze the rest. Heat that frozen stew back up in the crock pot another day.
* You can also use plain brown lentils if you can't find the pretty colors.

Crock Pot Chicken and Lentil Stew
2-3 large carrots, diced
2-3 stalks of celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 24-32oz. container of chicken or vegetable broth
3/4 cup black lentils
3/4 cup red lentils
2 cans diced tomatoes (undrained)
1 can chick peas
1 small can tomato paste
2 tbsp. chicken base
1 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. sweet or smoked paprika
1 tsp. parsley
1 tsp. oregano
3-4 chicken breasts

Directions: Add all ingredients to the crock pot and cook on low for 5-6 hours. Remove chicken and shred near the end of cooking time. Return chicken to the pot and stir. Allow chicken time to warm back up before serving.

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