New York Times best-selling author, slow cooking expert, mom of three
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A Year of Slow Cooking

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Indian Spiced Lentils with Chicken Slow Cooker Recipe


I had a few bags of lentils in the house, and attempted to make a chicken and lentil stew last week. I really like Indian spices, and thought that if I threw some in the pot I'd get a tasty lentil soup/stew with chicken.

I didn't get soup.

It could have been because I was on the phone, and helping the kids with homework, and frantically folding laundry while I was assembling ingredients and writing down quantities, but it also could just be that I estimated the liquid-to-solid ratio wrong.

The result was not a soup or stew, but instead a tasty and hearty lentil dish with a bit of chicken here and there for some added protein. If you would prefer to omit the chicken and keep this vegetarian, that's perfectly fine. I wouldn't bother to adjust the liquid, but instead keep the lid off of the slow cooker while you set the table. The extra liquid will absorb into the lentils and the steam will evaporate.

We all gobbled this up---which just shows that sometimes your accidental flubs in the kitchen can be a great success!

The Ingredients.
serves 4, with a bit leftover


2 cups lentils (mine were brown)
3 cups chicken broth (you could use veggie)
3 cups water
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 cup diced celery
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon corriander
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (4 ounce) can diced chiles (hot or mild, your choice)--no need to drain
1 tablespoon dried parsley (or 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh)
2 large chicken breast halves

The Directions.

Use a 4 to 5 quart slow cooker. Rinse the lentils under cold water until it runs clear. Dump into the slow cooker. Add broth and water. Add diced onion and celery. Add all spices, the garlic, and chiles. Stir to combine.

Lay 2 largeish chicken breast halves on top of the assembled food. My breast halves were frozen solid.

Cover and cook on low for about 7 hours, or on high for about 4. Before serving, remove chicken from the slow cooker, chop it up, and stir back in. Serve over basmati rice with corn tortillas or naan wedges (not gluten free) as scoopers.

The Verdict.

Although I was initially pretty bummed that my soup wasn't a soup, this turned out really tasty, and all of us enjoyed our dinner. The Indian spices were pronounced, but not spicy. Adam added a bit of spice to his with some red chile flakes, but I abstained (to ward off pregnancy heartburn. in case you were wondering. which you probably weren't, but there you go.).

I heated the leftovers up for lunch and my almost-5-year-old and her friend happily ate them.
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52 comments:

Best Wishes, Marie said...

yum. i love lentils. this and the rice cooker are a match made in heaven !!!pass the nam !!

La Pixie said...

I know Im gonna sound really lame, but keep in mind that I just recently started cooking. what are lentils?

Stephanie O'Dea said...

Hi Pixie, not lame. They are cute teeny tiny beans that are round. You can find them in the dry bean area at the grocery store (usually where the rice is housed).

The nice things about lentils is that they are uber cheap, filled with fiber, and you don't need to soak them.

xoxo steph

Christina said...

Delicious! I love when kitchen mistakes turn out for the good!

I'm So Pretty said...

Mmmm, can't wait to try this - thank you!!!

M Smith said...

Ya know what? I'll bet the leftovers, mashed with a potato masher, would make a fantastic dip!

I'll double the recipe...

bensrib said...

We have recently begun making a concerted effort to eat more fiber, so this will be great. Can't wait to try it!

Corey said...

Thank you SO much for the great dinner option for tonight. Anytime I'm lost for dinner, I check out your blog and I've loved every recipe that I've made from it. Thank you, thank you!

rachelc said...

This looks super yummy. Thanks for the post!

Beth said...

I set this up on high about 6 hours ago, and the lentils are still pingy and the liquid is not absorbed. I frequently have trouble with things like lentils and black beans not cooking all the way, even after hours and hours. Any suggestions?

azora said...

This sounds really delicious and I'll keep it in mind. This actually happened to me with another dish (the whole "it's not a soup!" thing) and we all scarfed it up anyway too. :) Sometimes mistakes are a good thing.

Kristin said...

Lentils are one of my favorite foods! Thanks for sharing... I'll keep this in mind as a new way to enjoy them!!

Alyss said...

My crockpot beans turned into bean soup the other night. That is definitely one thing that's nice about the crockpot - either way, it's edible :)

Stephanie O'Dea said...

Hi Beth,

where do you live? I'm at sea level, and have beans soften early, but they will take a much longer time in high altitudes. I've heard reports of sometimes needing to double the time. I'd switch your pot over to low, and check every 2 hours or so until they are bite-tender.

The pot on low will eventually heat up to the same temp as high, so putting it on low is just fine.

xoxo steph

Karen said...

I've been reading your blog since LONG before the book and love, love, love it. Just when I think you can't possibly come up with another recipe, you do! I want to give you the "One Lovely Blog" Award for the many great ideas and recipes...thanks! Come to http://www.layers-of-learning.blogspot.com to pick it up and post it on your site.
Thanks,
Karen
http://www.theexecutivemom.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Can I cook it longer than 7 hours? I work an 8 hour day so I would want it when I got home.

Stephanie O'Dea said...

Hi anon,
it's best to have your pot click over to warm when the food is fully cooked. the warm feature will keep the food warm for up to an additional 12 hours.

xoxo steph

Laura said...

I was so glad to see this recipe the other day. I had no idea what to make for dinner and I had almost all of the ingredients in the house. I made it and cooked it on high for 4 hours. Everything was cooked and best of all, it was SOUP. I don't know why yours wasn't soup unless you didn't follow your own directions. ; ) Thanks! It was delish.

Michelle Sparks Photography said...

I made this for dinner last night and it was yummy! Mine was soupy though. I used the extra liquid to cook the rice - so it all turned out ok. Weird that yours wasn't soupy. Thanks for all the great recipes!

Stephanie O'Dea said...

wow, two in a row that turned soupy! Thank you so much Laura and Michelle for reporting back. I wonder why my liquid disappeared?

I'm glad you enjoyed the flavor, I sure did.

xoxo steph

SaraK said...

Sounds delicious. Hope to try this recipe soon. Thanks!

Angel said...

YAY -- slow-cooker recipe with Indian spices! I can't wait and will report back with the results...

Sally said...

I really had high hopes for this recipe, but it just didn't work - cooked it for 7 hours on low, and the lentils were mush and the flavor was almost gone.

Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet said...

Great recipe, I love it when we were trying to do one thing and instead created an even better dish. Thanks for being part of the carnival! Your recipe is perfect, if you could just link to the carnival in your post (I don't think you do? But I could have missed it) that would be wonderful!

darnold23 said...

Congratulations on the publication of the book. I can't wait to get mine. I'm so sorry to have missed Good Morning America. I just didn't catch up on your blog until today. Thanks again for your terrific ideas.

I'm So Pretty said...

I made this and we loved it! I confess I tweaked it a bit, because of some comments that said theirs came out soupy, and I didn't want soup. So I reduced the liquid by a cup and a half and added 1/2 c. of brown rice. That took care of any extra liquid, and everything was still cooked beautifully! Yum - thanks very much for posting this!!!!

Dia said...

This so reminds me of our family's 'standard' quick fair - Rice n lentils! I love that they cook in the same amount of time (using brown rice) & is super easy. (stovetop ~ 1 hour)
I use 2 parts rice to one part lentils, onions & garlic, cumin & salt, & if I want to add veggies, (carrots, potatoe, celery, golden beets) chop those & add ~ halfway thru the cooking time. Occ add peppers or tomatoes, but usually the above. Oh, & of course a bay leaf (from my own tree), & sometimes a piece of kombu (kelp)!

Adrienne said...

I made this yesterday and it was my first experience with cooking and eating lentils. I cooked mine for about 8 hours on low and it came out like a thick stew. We ate it with rice and plain yogurt. It was quite tasty though next time I would go for the hotter chilies and add a little more spice. Thanks for another great recipe!

Anonymous said...

I'm with Adam - more spice! It has good flavor, but very mild. I prefer a bolder flavor, but love the consistency, esp. over rice. Yum.

Sokudo said...

Thirding the spices. We cooked it on high for four hours, and while the lentils were not mush, they still had a little bite to them, and PLENTY of water. (A little tapioca powder thickened it right up though.) However, the spices were very dull; we could only taste cumin. Next time, I'll try some cayenne powder. Still, not bad for my first time eating lentils.

Tavia said...

Mine also was soupy. I used red lentils.

I would also add some additional spices...maybe some curry powder. It was very chicken-y.

Stephanie C said...

I can't find coriander anywhere- I've tried three stores today! Darn Arkansas... Anyway, do you think I could substitute something else or just leave it out? I noticed that my curry powder has coriander in it. Would that work?

Stephanie O'Dea said...

Hi Stephanie,

absolutely!

xoxo steph

Soxy Girl said...

Made this and we both really enjoyed it. I used 4c of chicken stock (reduced sodium/fat free) and 3c of water and it was a little more like a stew, I get a little nervous with lentils they can turn pasty pretty quickly.

I also forgot the garlic, (realized it at work this afternoon--oops) and I used a 4 oz can of jalepenos because that's what I had in the house. It was good--good spice/heat to it. Served over brown rice, this is a keeper.

Thanks, Steph! Hoping to get your cookbook for Christmas!

AFA said...

I know this may seem like a silly question, but you put the lentils in dry, correct?

Stephanie O'Dea said...

hi Afa, they were dry, although I did rinse them under water.

--steph

Lisa said...

Okay I realize this is an old post to be leaving a comment on, but I have to say how thankful and refreshed I am that I just stumbled onto your blog! I am a new mom and am really enjoying my slow cooker, but am on a constant lookout for new slow cooker recipes. I recently purchased a few slow cooker books to find they use a lot of processed canned items. I really like that you have allergy references and actually use products I use- even the same brands in most cases. My family's health (and budget) are very important to me and I regularly make things from scratch like my beans, broth, hummus, etc. This site is awesome and just what I was looking for. I will have to go get your book now. CONGRATS!!!

Granny's Daughter said...

I made this tonight and it came out a bit soupy. Not bad, just not what I expected. I even took the top off for 20 minutes or so, but that didn't firm it up. Scooped over rice, it could be eaten on a plate -- no bowl needed.

We liked it but agreed that it could use a bit more oomph in the spice department. Next time, I will try some of the things suggested in the comments.

For years I thought I did not like lentils. Must have just been the particular dish, as these were good.

Thanks for this blog and your book!

Rainyday said...

This morning was a frantic scramble to get ready for the day. I'd fallen asleep with our oldest last night and didn't make any preps for tonight's supper. At 7:30 this morning, I brought up your site and searched through the chicken recipes. By 8, I'd thrown a bunch of things in the crock pot and we were out the door. I heavily modified it, but this is the recipe we tried. Delish! I even blogged about it... http://rainydayweightloss.blogspot.com/2010/03/march-9th.html

Nicole said...

I LOVED this. So delicious. I'll definitely make it again in the future, but I think that next time, I'll add some spinach toward the end to get in some additional veggies. Also - I used a whole can (incl liquid) of JALAPENOS. Wow! Talk about adding some real heat. Might be too spicy for many, but it was perfect for the hubby and I. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

Chelsea said...

I have this in the crockpot right now and am so excited to try it! My husband is pretty picky but he loves lentils so we'll give it a try! I just wanted to thank you for this amazing website! It has been a real lifesaver for me and i love all the new ideas since im not very creative!

MCM Voices said...

I made this today. I used red lentils, 3 cups of broth, no water, and a grated zucchini, and that was enough liquid/moisture. Didn't have chicken breasts but had some frozen thighs. About 4 1/2 hours on high. It was great! Not soupy, but it definitely would have been if I'd added the extra liquid.

Next time I will use French lentils - just didn't have any today.

Danie said...

I've beencraving lentils for the past few days, but I was sick of the standard lentil soup and wanted something a bit dfferent. As usual, your lovely blog did not disappoint. I love Indian food so, as soon as this recipe popped up, I was sold. Had everything in the cupboard just finished throwing it together. I'm planning on stiring in some Greek yogurt and using toasted pita squares to eat it on. Thanks again for another winner Steph!

Amy said...

I just made this for my family to eat while I was working. My little ones who are very picky and never eat anything, loved this! I used chicken legs instead and I also used red lentils. There is only a little left for me to eat when I get home. My kids are 21 months (twins) and 2 1/2. This is definitely a keeper!

Anonymous said...

Just made this and it is soupy/ stewy, but still tastes yummy!

Anonymous said...

Hi, just wanted to post and say I made this too, reducing the water by 1 cup and doubling the spices (except salt -- I just added a little bit more there). It was very good. A bit watery, but when served over rice and with pita, it was not a problem at all. I also used fresh parsley and added chopped fresh spinach at the end (several handfuls). The only thing I would do differently next time is to serve it with Greek yogurt (or stir some in), and possibly add some sort of vinegar. It needs a bit more "tang," in my opinion. But I love spice and flavor more than most.

My frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts came out a bit dry, but I think one was pretty old and perhaps had freezer burn. I'd love to know if Stephanie (or others) generally have luck using boneless skinless breasts in their slow-cookers, or if you recommend using dark meat or bone-in meat.

Thanks for a fabulous, fun site and some great recipes. Easy to tweak and make your own.

Sandy said...

This was FANTASTIC. I doubled it, and served it on basmati with peas. YUM YUM YUM. With the doubling, it looks like we will have enough to eat all week for us and the 3 kids.
Awesomeness, in 10 minutes of prep time.

sophia said...

i think i used to much liquid around 6 cups. it did not work for me. too soupy. no taste but may be it will come together tomorrow. i love your site though.i bought all ingridients though. the coriander was almost 7 bucks.

blondiesgarden said...

I made this yesterday with a few changes. I used 4 cups of chicken stock and 2 cups water. I left it on low for 8 hours. When I got home I added a little more salt, a chopped fresh tomato, a lot of hot Jamaican curry powder and some garam masala. Then I topped it off with a little sour cream. It was a delicious stew and was not soupy at all. Thanks for an awesome healthy recipe!!

ani said...

great recipe and i look forward to putting it on tomorrow morning... one thing about all those people who's lentils weren't cooked. it's the salt. when cooking any bean, but especially the lentil, do not salt during the cooking process. it inhibits the beans ability to absorb water, hence the under cooked lentils. in my experience you can salt towards the end of cooking or just before serving.

Nicole said...

This is my favorite recipe on your website. It's comforting and the flavors are interesting. I love Indian food and the spices are so good in this, and I love the hearty chicken with lentils combo. My family all enjoys this. Just wanted to let you know that this has become one of my favorite meals!

s said...

I do this (more or less) but use red lentils and one chicken leg (thigh and drumstick). The chicken flavour is better, and they cook devine in there. I do not put the kale in the slow cooker, I rip it up per your instructions and saute with oil, garlic, salt and pepper, and finely diced white onion, flash steamed at the end of saute with a bit of that chicken broth. Then I make a pile on top each serving, and dust with ground cumin. Dal just means beans/pulses/lentils.

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