Sloppy Lentil Joes

Mmm mmm… I love Sloppy Lentil Joes night.  As this is easily made in the slow cooker, I don’t make it as much as I ought to because, well, it requires the foresight of buying ingredients the day before.  But now that the British summer is upon us and our oven of a fifth-floor flat is only getting hotter and hotter, I’m trying to break out the slow cooker as much as possible for dinners, as it doesn’t heat up the flat as much as cooking on the hobs would. Plus, I had two loaves of bread we unneccessarily bought from Whole Foods that we needed to make our way through before they went stale or mouldy.

I got this recipe from Robin Robertson’s Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow CookerUsually, I adapt recipes to create yields for one or two people (for me and Red, that is), but these Sloppy Lentil Joes are so delicious that I follow the whole recipe so I have leftovers for an entire week of lunches.  You’d think this would get boring, but it doesn’t.  While they’re supposed to be served Sloppy Joe style (on a bun/bread), these lentils are just as tasty eaten directly out of a bowl with a spoon.  Or, if you’re like me just now, straight out of the serving spoon whilst transplanting the leftovers from the crock pot to the tupperware.  Sneaky late-night snack WIN!

Sloppy Lentil Joes

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 small red pepper, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1.5 c dried brown lentils, picked over
  • 1 400g tin crushed tomatoes
  • 3 c water
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Step one Heat oil in pan over medium heat and cook onion and pepper covered for 5 minutes or until softened.  Add chilli powder and stir to coat.

Step two Transfer the onion/pepper mixture to crock pot and add the rest of the ingredients, stirring to combine.  Cover and cook on Low for eight hours.

Yields 4-6 servings (but I think it yields more like 6-8.)

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Crock Pot Chilli

Crock Pot Chilli is a big hit in this household.  It’s made of some general components, and then more components can be added on a whim, usually to great effect.  Best served with brown rice or corn bread, it can also be served with some buttery bread if I’m feeling lazy, which is less nutritionally sound than brown rice but delicious.

Crock Pot Chilli

Basic Ingredients

  • 1 tin red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 green pepper, roughly chopped
  • 227g tinned chopped tomatoes (usually available in a small tin at the grocery store)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 T vegetable oil
  • 2 t bottled minced chilli (or 1 t chilli powder, or if you like things really hot more.  or if you have that wussy chilli powder that is actually only a little bit chilli powder and mostly cumin, add definitely more than just 1 t.)
  • 3 t cumin powder
  • 2 T water

And to zest things up this time, I added

  • 3 t tamarind paste
  • 10 cherry tomatoes (because I bought a carton of them the other day and saw them sitting there in my refrigerator when I went to get the tamarind paste)

Step one Warm up slow cooker.  Heat up the oil in a pan and cook the onion, green pepper and garlic for 2-3 minutes over medium heat on the hob.

Step two Transfer onion/pepper/garlic mixture to slow cooker.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Stir.  Cover.  Slow cook on low for 6 hours.

Yields 2 servings

 

See, I love this recipe, because it’s so easy, and I usually have all the ingredients on hand.  Have some sweet corn?  Chuck it in there.  Want to sweeten things up but don’t have tamarind?  Squirt in some honey or throw in some brown sugar.  Have some potato you want to use? Chop it up, chuck it in, and add a bit more water (also, you might have to increase the cooking time by an hour or two).  Want to get a little more south-of-the-border?  Add some coriander and paprika.  More mediterranean?  Try oregano and a bit of basil.  Love bay leaves?  Put one of those in there too.  How much do you really like tomatoes?  You could add some tomato paste in there as well.