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Monday, January 28, 2008

Curried Cauliflower, Lentil & Pumpkin Stew

I'm still on a pumpkin kick. Our Weight Watcher leader, Pat, has been discussing ways to kick start motivation to turn your life around. It's working! Anyone who has read or was a fan of my YAHOO! Blog, you may remember that in October 2007 I was writing and sharing a lot of pumpkin recipes. Pumpkin is the unsung culinary hero ingredient in the kitchen.

Sunday, I was trying to come up with a new vegetarian dish to use up the veggies in the fridge. I also needed to make enough of something tasty to take to work. One of the tricky things about the Weight Watchers Core Plan and working at a Kosher/Conservative synagogue building is the constant need to have precooked vegetables and/or vegetarian meals that are "safe" enough for my diet plan and for the rules of the building. I have to be aware of not bringing to work foods such as shellfish, meats, or mixing dairy with hidden meat products in the ingredients. There are only so many tuna salads I can eat in a week, especially with the mercury scare of late. Quite frankly, not being a vegetarian is hard! Maybe I should put that in bold letters! I know realistically that as moving towards a more vegetarian approach is healthier and more environmentally friendly. I won't preach, because the lesson would be lost on my own ears. I'm too much of a carnivore to give up meat, but...it is a more attractive option. Plus, it's cheaper! Have you seen how much groceries are costing these days? Organic milk is over $3 bucks for a half gallon. Fruit and veg at most grocery stories is costly and it's not even that great.

I perused a slowcooker recipe book at Williams-Sonoma, which gave me a few new ideas. I read about a curry dish that doesn't need to cook in the slow cooker, though should you want to use one, it's a fine idea. I found that my modified version of the dish cooked within 45 minutes. For best results this dish is better the next day, allowing the flavors to meld together.




Curried Cauliflower, Lentil & Pumpkin Stew




  • 1 Tablespoon Olive, Vegetable or Canola Oil
  • 1 Large Onion - Cut into Large Dice or half-moon slices 1/4 thick
  • 3 Medium Carrots - Peeled & cut into large chunks/dice
  • 2 Medium Parsnips - Peeled & cut into large chunks/dice
  • Large Head of Cauliflower - cut into large florets
  • 3 Garlic Cloves - minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Curry Powder
  • 1 Cup Pumpkin Puree
  • 4 Cups Vegetable Stock - Reserving 1 Cup for later use (chicken stock can be used, but then it's not truly a vegetarian dish)
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to Taste
  • 1 Cup Lentils - French or Green Lentils, though Red Lentils are great too
  • 2 Tablespoons Each Fresh Parsley and Cilantro for Garnish - optional

Directions:

  1. Wash, peel and cut all the vegetables as directed
  2. Use a stock pot, dutch oven or other 5 quart pot with a tight fitting lid. Heat the oil over medium-high heat and saute the onions until they are translucent - about 3 minutes.
  3. Add in the carrots and parsnips and sweat the vegetables for 5 minutes.
  4. Add in the cauliflower and garlic; stir to combine and saute 1 minute.
  5. Add in the curry powder, stirring to combine and to toast/bloom the flavor of the curry seasoning.
  6. Stir in the pumpkin puree and 3 Cups of the vegetable stock- stirring well to combine, incorporate and thin the pumpkin puree.
  7. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, lightly covered for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings with a bit of salt and pepper. If mixture is too thick, add the reserved 1 cup of vegetable stock.
  8. After simmering 20 minutes, pour in the cup of lentils, stirring to combine. Cover pot tightly and cook for 15-minutes, or until the lentils are al dente and the vegetables are fork tender. If the lentils have absorbed too much liquid, you can add some water to thin the mixture.
  9. Taste and adjust seasonings again, adding more salt and pepper, additional dash of curry powder.
  10. Garnish with the chopped parsley and cilantro and serve over brown rice or basamati rice.


3 comments:

  1. yay! more vegetarian food! I want to try this when I have some time. Do you just use some canned pumpkin, like you would buy for a pumpkin pie?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Use pure, plain, canned pumpkin puree! It couldn't be simpler! The pumpkin pie puree has spices and possibly sugar and salt in it already.

    ReplyDelete
  3. A second yay Denine. This sound like a great thing to make with Cauliflower. I need to go to the market tomorrow.
    Thanks,
    Michael
    PS: Of course I went right to the cookie receipe before looking over this one.

    ReplyDelete

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