Tuesday, April 20, 2010

simple supper-lentil stew

Since we are having a cool and rainy  day  here today I decided to make us some lentil stew and corn dumplins for dinner tonight.  A nice, easy, hot meal that isn't overly heavy  yet is nutritious, filling, cheap and versatile, my kind of fare for a lazy and  relaxing day.

There are many different lentil soup and/or stew recipes out there and  I don't exactly follow any recipe in particular  but I always begin with a base mix of the following and throw it all in a crock pot. Cook times depend on what veggies you throw in  but 3-4 hours on high usually  covers it. Serve with salad and bread as a meal or thicken  and serve as a stew over biscuits, dumpling, bread or noodles.  Be creative  lentils are very versatile.
1-1/2 cups lentils
1 cup carrots sliced
6 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tbsp butter
15 oz can tomatoes
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic

From this base I add other  spices, veggies, meat, rice or noodles even. Some of our favorites to add in are root veggies, although we tend to eat this in the winter months rather than now. A mild curry flavor is also nice as is adding Mexican flavors and veggies.  The Mexican  is especially  flavorful with corn  dumplins, almost like a pozole with corn tortillas  but not . Give it a Moroccan flare and throw some winter squash  or pumpkin cubes in. If your family needs to have meat with every meal, throw some diced bits of meat in, a little meat can go a long way in  dishes such as this.

Tonight our  stew is simply  the above  mentioned recipe with  some added spices and taters over corn dumplins. Total cost was the price  of the lentils (45cents),  flour(10 cents) and spices (10 cents). This will give us at least two meals  for the two of us and maybe even  three. It took me about 10 minutes to prepare everything   and get it cooking, now that is what I call simple.

For some very different lentil stews check these out.   For those that don't eat meat, simply omit it in the recipes, it is what  I do they are still very good. The only one that I have not made some sorts of variation of is the beer and bacon one. The rest are quite tasty and all are simple.

For corn dumplins just replace 1/2 of your flour in your favorite dumplin recipe with corn meal and cook as normal.  Here is the recipe I use for dumplins and they have not failed me yet. 
2 cups of white flour (not self rising, if using self rising omit baking powder and salt)
  (for corn dumplins use 1 cup flour and 1 cup corn meal)
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup of milk (or more)
 Mix all ingredients. Make sure your soup or stew is on a gentle simmer. Drop dumpling dough into the liquid by teaspoonfuls or for larger dumplings use a tablespoon. There's no need to worry about shaping perfect dumplings because they will puff up as they cook. Cover your pot with a lid so that the dumplings can steam. In crock pot this takes about 30 minutes on a stove 20.


  1. Hey dilli,
    How did you learn to cook all these good foods?
    thanks for the dumplin idea, sometimes we have to feed a lot of people here. I never considered the dumplings on the lentil stew, or in much else either. it is a geat idea though !

  2. I grew up in a kitchen. My mother was a cook in a small town restaurant when I was young. She also catered things for Rotary, auxiliary groups, fire dept and all sorts of other things. I learned to cook at a very young age and worked off and on in kitchens of various restaurants over the years. I LOVE to cook and I find it relaxing as well as challenging at times. I aint into all sorts of fancy n stuff but I do like well balanced, usually nutritious home spun meals. If I could have a dream job it would be cooking all my stuff i grew in a little restaurant type place with all sorts of musical instruments hanging around to jam with. You would be fed what I felt like cooking on any given day and you would pay what you thought was a fair price..

  3. I have to try your idea for corn dumplings. DH isn't into lentils, I use 1/3 lentils to 2/3 split peas and that makes him happy.
    He loves his dumplings and cornmeal would make something different from always using just plain unbleached flour. Thanks


  4. Y'know that food cooked with love is so good for us! Well, I came looking for this post so I can try your biscuits today in a venison stew that I am cooking for out of state travelers today. I want to conserve energy; mine & the grid so I thought dumplings would be much easier than rolls or cornbread. Thanks for the lesson here.

  5. Oh I hope the guests and you enjoy them..yes the longer i cook over wood the more i really enjoy simple,,,