It’s been a cold and dreary day here in Southern California, which matched my mood because I’m becoming sick. Ack! Damn sinuses, anyway, it is the perfect kind of day for a hearty soup to warm you up. I love slow cooker stews and soups because of the aroma they bring to your home as the flavors warm and meld together throughout the day. The scents almost tease you, leaving you wanting the soup to be done sooner; alas, you have to wait another three hours.
Winter has some of the most delicious vegetables to offer, among them are a few of my favorites for dishes like these. You can’t go wrong with carrots (my sister would disagree!), beautifully dark leaves of dinosaur kale, and although the celery root is one ugly edible, it’s taste brings a lot to soups and vegetable roasts. The mushrooms bring an earthy flavor while balancing with the sweetness of the tomato, there’s a lot of components to this stew and that’s what makes it delicious.
For this recipe, you will need a fairly large crock pot; mine is roughly 4 quarts. I like my soups chunky, so most of the veggies are chopped, if you’d like a finer texture, dice them.
- 2 Cups Leeks, Chopped
- 1 Cup Carrot, Chopped
- 1 Cup Celery Root, Chopped
- 1 1/2 Cup Celery, Sliced
- 1 1/3 Cup Button Mushrooms, Sliced
- 1 1/2 Cup Kale (I used Black/Dinosaur Kale), De-stemmed and chopped
- 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
- 1 Cup Dried Red Lentils
- 1 tsp. Sea Salt
- 1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
- 1/4 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
- 5 oz. Tomato Paste
- 4 Cups Vegetable Broth, I use Rapunzel No Salt Added
- 3 Cups Water
- Put everything but the tomato paste, vegetable broth and water into a large bowl and stir until it is mixed well. I find that this helps to keep the ingredients more integrated, as mushrooms and leeks tend to float in the crock pot.
- Place the contents of the bowl into the crock pot. Stir the tomato paste into the vegetable broth so that it is not chunky, then pour the broth and water into the crock pot.
- Turn the crock pot to high heat for 6-8 hours (depending on the crock pot), check the hardness of the lentils and carrots to see of the stew is done cooking.
I definitely need to make these more often, it’s such an easy way to make dinner! Maybe, I’ll look into doing a casserole type of thing next. Do you have any great recipes for a slow cooker/crock pot? Let me know!