The other week brought a Winter Storm to the South, complete with snow and mostly ice. That kind of cold weather begs for soups, stews, and comfort food, but all that comfort food can be really heavy. I came up with a light and healthy stew that comforts and warms your body and soul.
I have a recipe for Coconut Curry Chicken that I used as a base for my stew. It starts off with the same preparation of the chicken and with the same spices. I simply added Red Lentils, sweet potatoes, cauliflower and extra broth to make it into a stew.
Recently, I had purchased Red Lentils for Sausage Lentil Soup, but my grocery store didn’t have the regular, brown lentils at that time, so I decided to buy the Red Lentils. I learned that when Red Lentils cook, they break down. They’re not my top recommendation for my Sausage Lentil Soup, but they’re perfect for Curry Stew. They way they break down makes a perfectly thick base for a stew.
This dish could very easily be made into a vegetarian meal if you leave out the chicken (possibly using Tofu instead) and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
Lastly, I learned that preparing this in a skillet was difficult. My skillet is no where deep enough to make a stew. I recommend using a Dutch oven.
First, I cut boneless, skinless chicken thighs into bite-size pieces and seasoned them with salt and pepper, and I brown them in a pot on both sides, then I remove them from the pan.
Next, I cook a sliced onion until it’s soft, and then I add 3 cloves of minced garlic and 1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger, followed by 1 tablespoon of curry power, 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon of Garam Masala. I let that cook for 30 seconds. And then I added some chicken broth and 1/3 cup of Red Lentils and 2 sweet potatoes.
After simmering for 20 minutes, I add 1 small head of cauliflower that I cut into bite-size pieces along with the chicken, and I let that simmer for an additional 15 minutes.
The lentils and vegetables really soaked up most of the liquid, making the stew quite thick. Yum!
Lastly, I add 1 cup of coconut milk and allowed that to simmer for 5 minutes. And I garnished with chopped cilantro.
- 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (leave out or use tofu for vegetarian option)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1/2 cup red lentils
- 1 small cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
- 4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 1 cup coconut milk
- ¼ cup packed cilantro leaves, roughly chopped (garnish)
Sprinkle the chicken with the salt and pepper. In a dutch oven, set over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the chicken thighs and cook, undisturbed, until crisp and browned, about 4 minutes.
Flip the chicken and cook for 3 more minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and return the pan to the heat.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until tender but still crisp, about 3 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic, ginger, and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the curry powder and turmeric and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds.
Stir in the chicken or vegetable broth and scrape up any browned bits in the pan. Return the chicken to the pan along with sweet potatoes and lentils, and bring the broth to a boil.
Add cauliflower and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Add the coconut milk and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let it stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Garnish with fresh cilantro.