Friday, January 3, 2014

Homestead Lentil Stew

Once a week, I have one of my kids 'shop' from the freezer and bring me several packs of meat. This week, my eldest brought in a pack of chicken thighs, a small pork roast, a package of bacon (of course... this child is a bacon fiend!) and a small pack of tenderloin chops. From that I try to plan out our weekly meals and make the most out of their shopping. 
So this morning after it was thawed, I tossed the pork roast in the crockpot with a little bit of water, some garlic, onion, rosemary and thyme. At the moment I put it in the crock I was still uncertain of what I was going to do with it, but I knew I could add something to it to make it stretch to feed our family.

As the day progressed, I figured it out. I wanted to make stew. It is a very cold day around N. GA. The winds are fiercely blowing and it gives me chills to think about going outside. 
I surveyed the fridge. Knowing that we didn't have much in the realm of fresh veggies, I decided the 'use what you got and make it work' approach was our best bet!

Later this afternoon after my roast had plenty of time to cook, I got out my cast iron dutch oven and heated  it up.
To it I added
1 large onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
the last bit of cauliflower I had about 1/4 of a head, chopped
1 broccoli crown, chopped
4 garlic cloves

I let those saute in the butter for a while, til they got tender, but not mushy. 
I added 6 cups of home canned beef stock.
2 bay leaves
1 1/3 cups lentils
and the shredded roast.

I let that cook for a good while. I didn't soak my lentils prior, so I did cook it total, around 1- 1.5 hours. 
Once lentils were tender, I added
1/4 cup chives
1/4 cup cilantro

We served this with Onion Rolls and Milk. And for those of us who opted, a good sized dollop of sour cream. It was hearty and delicious!!!
My husband said that it needed to make it onto our calendar of recipes. 
That is really saying something!

The important thing about this stew is that I am certain it would work with any number of vegetables that you have on hand! If you had potatoes, kale, sweet potatoes, cabbage, turnips, etc.
Use what you have...
Don't make a trip to the store just to get this.
Survey your pantry and fridge. 
It will work. It's mainly the process, nothing exact here. I think that is one of the best things about cooking. Now, I know there are some recipes that may need to be followed to the letter, but when you are trying to stretch, to make do and to save your pennies.... use what you've got! 

I love taking one small thing and being able to stretch it so far that it makes plenty.
 Enough for supper and leftovers. 

Hope you enjoy!

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