There is a definite change in the air, the turning of the colour on the leaves and the last few days has seen an omni present dewy dampness in the morning that is burnt off in the September sun.
This is one of my favourite times of the year from a cooks perspective. The foodie will notice the change on the cover of magazines, long gone are the healthy salads ready to make you virtuous before the day is out ready to hit the beach in your skimpy speedos. Now is the time to hit the comforting autumn bounty, the central heating is on after all. With squashes and apple delights adorning the magazine racks. To pick one up makes you feel comfortable just to the touch.
The weekend saw me caught between the headlights on so many fronts and trying to cope and keep the family nurished is a priority. If you find yourself in this situation then putting something in a slow cooker is ideal with minimum stress. This version completely disregards sealing the meat, a faff at the best of times! Although I can hear a million voices cry out in anger…..I just didn’t have the time.
- 2 medium sized onions diced
- 1kg Stewing Lamb
- 2 tins of pulses (Chefs choice, I use chick peas and canneloni)
- 250g chopped mushrooms (I quarter them)
- 1-2 tsp smoked paprika (or a spice mix that gives a little warmth)
- 2 tins chopped tomatoes
- 50 grams red split lentils
- 50 grams brown split lentils
- Soften the onions in a glug of olive oil
- Add the spice to the onions and stir in for a minute or so
- Put everything in the slow cooker at this point, except the split lentils
- High heat for a good 2 hours
- At this point give it a good stir and use your judgement. Think about how you like your stew, I find a good hundred grams of lentils at this point is the ideal thing to both soak up and thinken the juices.
- I leave in the slow cooker for another hour or so on low heat in order to cook the lentils
This easily does the four of us two meals, great for freezing and good for a quick reheat mid week. Serve with potatoes or couscous. Or as a chunky soup with a big chunky slice of bread.