A Stewy Kind of Day

Since we’ve been getting at least one snow storm a week, I’ve been on a stew kick. The definition of stew is “To cook (food) by simmering or boiling slowly,” which is exactly what these recipes have been. I live in New Jersey, and the past year of weather has been outrageous. Last winter wasn’t SO bad, but I do remember a few pretty solid snow storms. This past summer was unbearable with its sticky, humid days, and the only solace I found was in the fall. Enter winter 2010 – 2011, where as soon as we hit the end of December, the skies have been pouring snow and other wintery precipitation on us like no other. My mom, a school nurse, has already used all of her snow days. And we’re barely into February!

Last week, I went with an Indian stew, Dal. I think I used about 75% of my curry powder stock in one week, but it was well worth it. Since I had made some curry earlier in the week, I had left over sweet potato and cauliflower to add to the mix. I debated adding some chickpeas as well, but decided to save them for another rainy, or in this case snowy, day. The Dal recipe I went off of is from the Student’s Vegetarian Cookbook by Carole Raymond that I got for Christmas. Everything is quick, easy, and affordable. Aside from taking a few minutes to chop up the ingredients, sauté them, and cook the lentils, it’s a pretty no-fuss meal. It’s also really hearty. Just what you need on these cold winter nights!

Veggie Dal
-Serves 4-

1 cup dried lentils
3 cups water
2 Tbsp oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 cups onion, chopped
1/2 cup cauliflower
1 sweet potato, peeled and sliced
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp garam masala

1. In a medium saucepan, combine the lentils, water, and 1 cup of chopped onion. Bring the ingredients to a boil; reduce the heat, cover the pan, and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.
2. While the lentils are cooking, heat the oil in a medium skillet; add the remaining 1 cup onion, garlic, sweet potato, cauliflower, curry and garam masala. Sauté the vegetables on medium or medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the onions are golden, and the veggies are soft, and just beginning to brown, 10-15 minutes.
3. Add the vegetable mixture to the cooked lentils, stirring to combine. Heat the lentil mixture for a few minutes longer. Salt to taste.