Friday, March 2, 2012

Moroccan-style Squash, Red Lentil, Peanut, Chickpea Stew for the Crockpot

I got a couple of kabocha squash in my produce box last week and really didn't know what to do with them. I found this recipe online, played with it a little, scaled it down to my crockpot size, and here is the result! It's more time- and ingredient-consuming than many of my recipes, but worth the effort!

Ingredients (for 4.5 qt. slow cooker)
-2-2.5 lb. of kabocha or butternut squash-this could be 2 small or 1 large kabocha squash. I used 3 lb. but it was too much to fit in my crockpot!
-2 cups cooked or 1 cup dry chickpeas, presoaked overnight
-1 cup dry red lentils
-4 carrots, chopped
-1/2 C peanut or almond butter
-4 cups vegetable broth
-4 T. tomato paste
-1 onion, diced
-1 inch hunk of ginger, peeled and diced
-1-2 cloves of garlic, diced
-1/2 t. cinnamon
-1 1/2 t. cumin
-salt & pepper to taste

for later:
-lime juice: ~1/4 C
-peanuts: unsalted, roasted, chopped (mine were salted so I added less salt. Putting in a ziplock bag and using a rolling pin is a good way to "chop" them)

What to do:
-If you're using dry chickpeas, presoak them overnight or quick-soak them like this. I happened to have a couple cooked cups in the freezer.
-For the squash: stick it in the microwave for 3 minutes to soften it up a little. Cut in half, scoop out the seeds, and peel with a regular vegetable peeler. Then dice into 1-1/2 inch chunks. I was surprised by how little squash was left after I seeded them! I used 2 squash but only ended up putting 1 1/2 in the stew-due to my crockpot size.

-Chop the carrots into about 1-inch chunks. Dice the onion and mince the ginger and garlic. Dump the first 10 ingredients into the crockpot. Turn on low.
-If you're using raw chickpeas, it will probably take about 6 hours for them to get soft. Red lentils cook quickly and will sort of dissolve into the stew.
-If your chickpeas are cooked/canned this will cook much more quickly, and it's up to you how soft you want everything to get. You're going to be looking for the squash to get soft. I cooked mine for exactly 5 hours and it was perfect.
-Before serving, stir in lime juice
-Garnish with peanuts and cilantro. If you like heat, you might also like some red pepper flakes.
-Eat carefully. I liked this so much I repeatedly burned my tongue.

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