Lamb & Lentil Winter Stew in a Crock Pot

Lamb & Lentil Stew

Lamb & Lentil Stew

 

Hello everyone, hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are all in good health as we enter the coldest and darkest month of the year.  So many people I know are sick right now, it is definitely going around.  What I know is that as hard as you try to avoid catching other people’s cold or flu virus, germs are everywhere and the only true defense we have is to strengthen our own immune system.  One of the best (and tastiest) ways to do that is through eating lots of hot soups and stews made with free-range meats and bone broths.  There is a reason that cultures traditionally prepare hot stews & soups in the winter time, besides the obvious need for warmth (which I am appreciating now that we live in a house without central heat and rely on a fireplace and the stove for heat).

 

One of nature’s most perfect immune boosters is good old fashioned home-made chicken stock.  Chicken bones have a high concentration of red bone marrow which is extracted while cooking and supports the growth of healthy immune cells.  Every time I prepare a chicken dinner, I throw the bones in the crock pot to simmer for hours until it becomes a delicious broth that I refrigerate or freeze for a multitude of uses (One can never have too much stock on hand).  In addition, any kind of bone broth is very nutritious and is loaded with minerals such as calcium, phosphorus & magnesium in a state that is easy to absorb.

 

It is also a little known fact that saturated animal fats also contribute to a healthy immune system (in particular from grass-fed animals).  Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a fatty acid found in saturated fats that supports immune function and even acts as an anti-carcinogenic.  The levels of of CLA are found to be several times higher in grass-fed animals, since their natural diets allow them to produce the right proportion of essential fats, compared to conventionally raised animals which have unhealthy levels of omega-6 fatty acids (which, along with trans fats, are the real culprit in most degenerative diseases such as coronary artery disease). 

 

Another health-promoting food that is useful for its immune-supporting properties as well as being delicious is coconut oil.  Lauric acid in coconut oil acts as an anti-microbial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal by attacking and killing bacteria, viruses and parasites, easing the load on your immune system.  It is also a medium-chain fatty acid that is directly absorbed by the liver and converted to energy so it will not make you fat.  I regularly eat a spoonful of virgin coconut oil right out of the jar.  It’s the perfect way to satisfy my sweet tooth after dinner (even though it is not particularly sweet).  And when I cook with coconut milk I use the full-fat version, not the watered-down “lite” kind.  That, combined with my home-made chicken stock and some grass-fed lamb stew meat make for a perfect immune-boosting and heart-warming winter stew.

 

Ingredients:

 

1 lb. grass-fed lamb stew meat

2 T olive oil

1/2 yellow onion

3-4 cloves garlic

1 T curry paste

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 cup dry french green lentils

1 can full-fat coconut milk

2 cups home-made chicken stock

1 head cauliflower

2-3 medium red potatoes, diced

1 T curry powder

1 bunch spinach

fresh parsley leaves

 

Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil until fragrant.  Add the lamb and stir in the curry paste to coat and lightly brown each side.  Sprinkle with just a pinch of mineral sea salt.  Meanwhile, prepare your crock pot and add the coconut milk, chicken stock, lentils, cauliflower, potatoes, 1/2 tsp salt and the curry powder. Turn the heat setting on low.  When it is ready, add the seared lamb mixture to the crockpot.  Stir everything together, cover and cook for about 5 hours.  About 10 minutes before cooking, add the fresh spinach and chopped parsley leaves.  I did not make this stew particularly spicy, but if you love Indian spices, you can always throw in some cardamom, coriander, chili flakes, or anything else you like.  Let me know what you try and how it turns out!

 

Also check out my chicken and rice soup as well as my winter squash & black bean chili.  I’ve made each of them over the past couple weeks. I love this time of year!

 

Makes about 4-5 servings.

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