Friday, April 1, 2011
Crock Pot Lentil Barley Stew
Crock Pot Soups and Stews are one of my families favorite dinners. Every time I make something in the crock pot, the kids and hubby love the smell when they arrive home, and get excited for dinner. The aroma of soups and stews slow cooking through the day is one of those comforting and welcoming home and hearth smells.
Today I made a Lentil Barley Stew, here is how I made it.
1 bag lentils
1 cup dried barley
8 stalks chopped celery
2 medium chopped onions
1/2 bag frozen crinkle cut carrots
about 15-20 mini portobella mushrooms cut into quarters or sixths
1 can low fat chicken broth
salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, cumin, crushed red pepper, garlic powder
I covered the washed and sorted lentils and barley with water, and the can of broth- usually I use more broth but this is all I had- which is really the whole point of soup & stews, using what you have, you could just as easily use veggie broth or beef stock. I let it cook on high for about an hour to start heating, then added a bit more water- you will want to check periodically the water level as the lentils and barley soak it up, and add more as needed to get that stew consistency, then add the onions, celery, carrots, mushrooms and spices. I do not measure spices, I always add spices at the beginning, middle and end of the cooking and taste to determine what I want to add- this is trial and error and is the best way to learn to make good soup for your family- if you are unfamiliar with a seasoning go easy- it really only takes a couple dashes of red crushed peppers to get a little heat- if you like more- add more- same for strong spices like garlic- some people love it, others don't- I only put in a couple dashes of garlic to boost the flavor, since I didn't have very much broth. Pretty much every soup I make starts with Onions, Carrots and celery, with a broth base, if you have these on hand you can always whip up a good soup, crushed tomatoes often find their way in my soups too- tonight I didn't add tomatoes, but I might next time. Cook on high for about 8 hours. I will be serving tonight's Lentil Barley stew with a super quick and easy batch of Bisquick Cheddar Garlic drop biscuits- you can find the recipe right on the box. Great way to feed the family veggies and grains!
Update: This was also yummy as a left over the next day- I added a dollop of Salsa & Sour Cream, gave it a whole new taste, and made a wonderful lunch!