Recipe: Lentil Stew

Yes, I have been on a Lentils run lately.

And this yummy recipe also utilizes one of my favorite inventions ever: The crockpot!

I seriously feel so brilliant when I use my slowcooker! And then I think: Why don't I use this even more often!?!?!?

And now that I have my new BIGGER crockpot that I received for Christmas ("No", Jas did not get in trouble, because "yes", that is what I asked for!)...I double all our slow-cooker recipes, so we have lots of Planned-Overs that I can freeze! I feel really smart as I put all those containers away in the freezer for future simple, healthy meals!

I've been making this recipe for years, from my Crocker Favorites (by Mable Hoffman). She calls this "Lentil 'n Ham Pot"...but I don't think that sounds very appetizing, so we just call it....

Lentil Stew

2 (about 8-10 oz each) ham hocks
3 c. chicken broth or bouillon
2 c. water
2-3 stalks celery, chopped
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 leek, washed, sliced crosswise
1/2 small head cabbage, sliced
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp marjoram
1/8 tsp pepper
1 c. dried lentils, rinsed

In slow-cooker, combine all ingredients. Cover and cook on LOW 9-10 hours or until vegetables and lentils are tender. Remove ham hocks. Cut any meat off and return to pot.

We don't buy pork here at our house (we don't avoid it to be legalistic, but after reading The Maker's Diet, we saw that God had his reasons for outlawing it in the Old Testament - it just really isn't good for you!). Now having said that "We don't buy it..." I'll tell you that when my mom gives us a ham bone after she's bought and served a big ham for a holiday meal - I freeze it...and then later use it for this stew (told you I'm not legalistic about pork!).

BUT, for years (when we lived across the country from my mom and couldn't get her hand-me-downs), I just omitted the ham. AND, for good measure, I just left out the leeks (because I didn't know what in the world they were)...and the cabbage (because I thought that sounded gross).

And the stew? Was still yummy. And we ate it that way for years.

But now? I use my mom's ham bones. I found out what leeks were (they look like big green onions, and they're yummy)...and I found out that cabbage is YUMMY in stew!

So, now I make it just like the recipe says...mostly.

And it is even YUMMIER than it was for the first few years I made it!

Old dogs can learn new tricks!

And speaking of "old dogs learning new tricks": Some of my friends tell me that their husbands don't like soups/stews. They're meat-and-potato eaters. (You know who you are, S!)

Start training them - and your kids - to like food like this.

It is healthier. It is important to eat a varied diet.

It is more frugal to get your protein in this form than in meat.

It is so easy to throw everything into a healthy soup/stew: protein, vegetables, whole grains...all in one pot - Brilliant! Just add some fruit (for a tasty dessert) and you have a well-rounded meal right there!

Even if you can only work up to serving something like this once a week, way to go! Their bodies, and your wallet, will thank you!

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