Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Slow-Cooker Lentil & Root Vegetable Stew w/ Brown Rice Croquettes

You'll need about 2 cups of vegetable broth for this recipe so throw caution to the wind and use the MOST DELICIOUS canned broth ever! Available at most Asian markets this Thai flavor powerhouse also delivers a serious sodium punch. Lucky for us we're going to make now enough lentils to feed an army. Leftovers keep refrigerated for about a week and they freeze well if used within three months.

So add to your crock pot/slow cooker: 2 cups regular brown lentils, 2 bay leaves, 1 t. whole black peppercorns, 2 cloves chopped garlic, 2 chopped tomatoes, 1 chopped onion, 2 cups vegetable broth (or chicken if not making for vegetarians), 1 cup water, a very large pinch of celery seeds, 1 peeled and chopped sweet potato and 1 peeled and chopped turnip. If you're not using a super-salty broth like we did add salt at the end of cooking. Cover the slow cooker and place on HIGH setting. The lentils should be ready in 3 hours. if possible check now and then and add small amounts of water as needed. You can also head out for the day and set cooker to LOW setting and let simmer for up to 7 or 8 hours. If you go that route it's wise to add a bit more liquid than mentioned above.

Sweet potatoes add a soft, creamy texture to the lentil stew but feel free to substitute rutabagas or 2 carrots.
Lentil & Root Vegetable Stew with Romaine Salad and Brown Rice Croquettes
Cafe Drake HRV can always find leftover cooked brown rice in the fridge, and when we don't simply reheat by steaming for 5 minutes, fried patties, or croquettes, make an all-purpose side dish. Of course you can also make with leftover white rice, and these are addictive enough to warrant a stop at the Chinese take-out for cartons of plain rice when your fridge holds none. Either way you'll need to start with 2 cups cooked, chilled rice. In a large mixing bowl mash the rice with a potato masher, or even better, your own clean hands. Add 1 egg and enough bread crumbs to bind, about 3/4 cup. Season with soy sauce, salt and black pepper. Add 2 thinly sliced scallions and 2 cloves minced garlic. Mix well and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, allowing mixture to firm up. Form into small patties and pan-fry in a non-stick skillet with 3 T. olive oil over medium heat until crispy on both sides, flipping once halfway through cooking. Total cooking time should be around 8-10 minutes.

Leftover lentil stew with brown rice and barley, roasted asparagus and corn pudding.


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