I had a few bags of lentils in the house, and attempted to make a chicken and lentil stew last week. I really like Indian spices, and thought that if I threw some in the pot I'd get a tasty lentil soup/stew with chicken.
I didn't get soup.
It could have been because I was on the phone, and helping the kids with homework, and frantically folding laundry while I was assembling ingredients and writing down quantities, but it also could just be that I estimated the liquid-to-solid ratio wrong.
The result was not a soup or stew, but instead a tasty and hearty lentil dish with a bit of chicken here and there for some added protein. If you would prefer to omit the chicken and keep this vegetarian, that's perfectly fine. I wouldn't bother to adjust the liquid, but instead keep the lid off of the slow cooker while you set the table. The extra liquid will absorb into the lentils and the steam will evaporate.
We all gobbled this up---which just shows that sometimes your accidental flubs in the kitchen can be a great success!
serves 4, with a bit leftover
2 cups lentils (mine were brown)
3 cups chicken broth (you could use veggie)
3 cups water
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 cup diced celery
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon corriander
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (4 ounce) can diced chiles (hot or mild, your choice)--no need to drain
1 tablespoon dried parsley (or 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh)
2 large chicken breast halves
Use a 4 to 5 quart slow cooker. Rinse the lentils under cold water until it runs clear. Dump into the slow cooker. Add broth and water. Add diced onion and celery. Add all spices, the garlic, and chiles. Stir to combine.
Lay 2 largeish chicken breast halves on top of the assembled food. My breast halves were frozen solid.
Cover and cook on low for about 7 hours, or on high for about 4. Before serving, remove chicken from the slow cooker, chop it up, and stir back in. Serve over basmati rice with corn tortillas or naan wedges (not gluten free) as scoopers.
Although I was initially pretty bummed that my soup wasn't a soup, this turned out really tasty, and all of us enjoyed our dinner. The Indian spices were pronounced, but not spicy. Adam added a bit of spice to his with some red chile flakes, but I abstained (to ward off pregnancy heartburn. in case you were wondering. which you probably weren't, but there you go.).
I heated the leftovers up for lunch and my almost-5-year-old and her friend happily ate them.