Sunday, November 7, 2010

Lentil Chili

Has it really been a month since I last updated this blog?  Time has gone by so quickly, so I must apologize for being delinquent in my updates.

On October 5, I made Lentil Chili from the Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook.  I had a bit of a craving for chili, but I didn't want to make just your standard chili and I thought that this recipe would be a good way to switch it up a bit.

I have to apologize because I completely forgot to take pictures as I was assembling the chili. That said, this is one of those great recipes for a grad student (or anyone who is equally busy) because you just throw all the ingredients together.  As you may be able to see from the image, there are relatively few ingredients... except for the seasoning.  You throw in yellow onion, red bell pepper, jalapeno, celery, carrot, garlic, and lentils.  For seasoning, it takes brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, oregano, thyme, and dry mustard.  It is all cooked in chicken broth.  The recipe says that you should cook it on low for six to eight hours "stirring occasionally, if possible."  It was most definitely not possible for me to stir occasionally, and it came out fine, having just mixed it all together at the beginning and then letting it cook.

For the last hour, you're supposed to add olive oil and salt.  I, predictably, left out the salt.  I would like to note, however, that I let this cook a lot longer than just eight hours and it came out fine--one of the great things about the crock pot is that you can just let many of the recipes keep cooking without a problem if you can't get home eight hours after you turn it on.  I normally leave for school around eight and return sometime between five and six on the days that I make crock pot recipes.  I generally select recipes that already need to cook for a long time (so, none that are only 3-4 hours) and turn it on last thing before I leave the house.

I followed all of the serving suggestions from the cookbook: topped with sour cream, chopped fresh tomatoes, chopped green onions, and chopped fresh cilantro and served over brown rice.  I think that serving it over the rice really helped make this dish last.  The recipe says that it serves four to six and I think I got about ten servings out of it!  This means that this is very low calorie: maybe only about 70 calories per serving for the lentils alone.  For the entire meal, I'd add about 50 calories for the toppings and 100 for the brown rice (though it could be less depending on how much you use) for a total of only 220 calories per serving.

In terms of cost, this was a very cheap meal to make, especially since I already had some of the ingredients, namely all of the seasonings and the olive oil--the items which would be the most expensive to purchase.  But, everything else only cost me $17.05, so just about $1.70 per serving!

What did I think about this chili?  It was really good.  But, it did not satisfy my craving for chili.  It's called a chili in the cookbook, but if you want chili, this will not do.  Next week you'll get to see the chili I did make because this dish did not satisfy my craving.

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