Monday, April 18, 2011

Mango Curry Chicken Lentil Stew

We woke up to snow here in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Yes, I said that right....snow. It does seems a bit odd, especially since last year it was like 80 degrees today. I woke up with wonder, almost like a first snow again. It shouldn't be too surprising, but it is. Well, I am not going to get my panties in a bunch over it. I am going to stay inside and make stew today! Staying warm and dreaming of spring (when it decides to show it's beautiful face!) I am glad my tomato and pepper seedlings are safe in the warm basement, and that they are growing nicely. I am sad that the daffodils in the front yard are frozen...oh well, soon and very soon, we will be digging in the yard and watching our plants grow. Really, it will get warm, it can't snow in May, can it?

I made this stew based on a recipe a friend (thank you, Lori) shared with me a few weeks back. Hers didn't call for lentils, but since I love lentils so much (and know many of you do to) you could have both chicken and lentils. Or if you are vegan and want to just have lentils, then go for that option instead. I added a pound of organic chicken to make it a bit heartier, but really it would be just as wonderful a lentil stew as well. There is something wonderful about a curry-mango, sweet and savory dish. It is comforting and warms the soul. I think we all could use a little of that today...
Sweet Chicken Lentil Stew Recipe
1- 1 1/2 pounds of raw organic or local chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces
1/4 cup of rice/corn or millet flour
2 TB of curry powder
1/2 ts. of sea salt
1/2 ts. of black pepper or red pepper
1-2 TB of olive oil in the large soup pot (8 qt).

Toss the raw chicken pieces in the flour and spices and then, saute in a pan with 1 TB of olive oil for 4-5 minutes, until the chicken is browned and cooked. Then add:

1 cup of chopped red onion
1/2 cup of finely chopped celery
3-4 cloves of minced garlic
1 cup of chopped green bell pepper
1 TB of freshly minced ginger root (or dried could work too)

Continue to cook in the same large pot (one pot meal) and let the onion get soft, then add the following to the cooked meat and onions/garlic/pepper:

1 1/4 cup of french lentils (green lentils could work too)
1 TB of olive oil
4 cups of veggie or chicken stock
4-5 cups of pure water (depending on watery you want your stew)
1 ts. of paprika
dash of cinnamon
dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
2 ts. of dried cilantro
2 ts. of dried basil
1 can of 14.5 ounces of diced organic tomatoes (or 1 cup of diced plum tomatoes)
1 cup of chopped mango pieces
1/2 cup of raisins

Cook the combination of all the above for 40-50 minutes until the lentils are cooked and have soaked up the water. You will notice the raisins have plumped out again, and the flavors of the sweet mango and savory spices will have been brewed together. Hm, fantastic!

Options for serving: Pour over some rice, and top with fresh herbs.
fresh cilantro (about 1/4 cup for serving)
1 cup servings of brown rice or quinoa
That is it. It is a few step process, but once you got all the goodness in the pot, you have dinner and you get to enjoy the flavors in your kitchen without a huge clean-up. I must say, I really love french lentils. I have just used them a few times, but after this recipe I am going to try using them more. I think they are really beautiful dry, but then so delicious cooked as well.

If you are in West Michigan today, I hope you stay warm and don't stop dreaming of spring and daffodils. If you are in other warm and spring-like parts of the country...Just keep your comments to yourself (or at least start sharing your warmth) because we are a bit sensitive about the weather today...:)

Much love to you today!

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