If you’re not making soup/stew/chili in advance and eating it throughout the week, well… you don’t know what you’re missing. I recommend taking two or three hours on a weekend day to prepare a couple different hearty soups that you can eat later in the week or freeze.
This Lentil Stew with Pumpkin or Sweet Potato recipe is a great make-ahead option. It can easily be made vegetarian (just use veggie broth instead of chicken), has lots of good protein in the form of lentils, and utilizes the root vegetables that fall is so famous for.
Make a pot today and be happy you did!
You’ll need (makes six servings):
1/2 pound (1 heaped cup) lentils, rinsed and picked over
6 cups water, vegetable stock or chicken stock
1 medium onion, cut in half
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 bay leaf
Pinch of saffron
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
20 sprigs cilantro, tied into a bunch
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 medium or 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 pound winter squash (such as pumpkin or butternut squash) or sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
3 tablespoons tomato paste
Freshly ground pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1. Combine the lentils, water or stock, onion, garlic cloves and bay leaf in a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Rub the saffron between your fingers and add to the pot, along with the turmeric and the cilantro. Reduce the heat, add salt to taste, cover and simmer 30 minutes.
2. Remove the onion and garlic cloves from the pot, and add the remaining ingredients except the parsley. Bring back to a simmer, cover and simmer 30 minutes or until the lentils and vegetables are tender. Discard the cilantro bundle, taste and adjust seasonings. Just before serving, stir in the parsley.