8 c. water
16 oz. bag dried lentils, rinsed + picked through
4 carrots, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
1 large onion, diced
6 whole cloves garlic, peeled
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Combine first 6 ingredients in the crock of a large slow cooker (mine is 6 quarts). Cook on HIGH for 6 hours.
Remove garlic cloves if you like (or eat them, or leave them in the soup). If you like a smoother soup, use an immersion blender in the crock for about 20 seconds until about a third of the soup is pureed, leaving some chunks. Season with remaining four ingredients, adjusting salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.
I worked in the lobby shop of the Statler Hotel when I was in college — it was a small outpost of our campus store that sold some school paraphernalia, candy, newspapers, and what not. I loved the job because I got to interact with visitors to the campus, whether they were potential students, parents, or celebrities (I sold papers to B.B. King’s entourage and to Bill Maher himself) who often asked my opinion on what to see, where to eat, and how I liked Ithaca.
Since I worked through dinner, I brought my own food, and most often it was either kidney or black beans mixed with rice. (I suppose I could have only been a more stereotypically low-on-funds college student if I’d been eating ramen.) I always enjoyed this combination of foods, and making Mujadarra, with its mix of lentils and rice, took me back 15 years to those evenings where I crammed studying in between customers buying gum.
At the recommendation of Israeli reader Elinoar, I upped the cumin, using a full teaspoon rather than the recipe’s suggested quarter-teaspoon. (Elinoar also suggested I add a little turmeric, but I forgot to. I will do that next time.) I felt this level of spice was perfect. And the caramelized onions are so delicious and creamy from their long, slow cooking on the stove. Mujadarra is good warm or straight from the fridge, and is a perfect vegan meal on its own or as a side dish to grilled chicken.
I was sure I had nearly a full bag of lentils in my pantry, but it turned out to be just half a cup. This turned out to be a happy mistake. Instead of the two full cups of lentils this recipe called for, I used a quarter of that and then filled in the rest with chunks of washed, but unpeeled, white potatoes from my farm share. They are perfect together, and create a really delicious Indian-inspired dish. Although there are green chiles in here, it’s not spicy, I promise.
I probably would have preferred the onions if I’d taken the time to caramelize them in some olive oil first. I also thought the flavor improved the second day, when my leftovers were reheated. Still, I will definitely make this recipe again, and it inspired me to think some more about other curry dishes for the Crock-Pot.
½ c. lentils, picked through and rinsed
1 qt. potatoes (4-6 medium), washed and cut into chunks
1 medium onion, diced
1½ tsp. cumin
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. dried mustard
½ tsp. turmeric
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 4 oz. can chopped green chiles
1 small bunch fresh parsley, chopped
4 c. vegetable broth
1.5 – 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breasts, halved)
Place everything up to and including the vegetable broth in the slow cooker and give it a stir to combine. Lay the chicken on top. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours. Stir and serve over rice, if desired.
Note: the original recipe suggests leaving the lid off the Crock-Pot while it is still on high for the last few minutes of cooking if you feel there’s too much liquid left for your taste. I didn’t do this, but did use a slotted spoon to serve.
I'm Dara, the Chick in the Kitchen. Living in the suburbs of Manhattan with my two school-aged boys and husband. Feeding my family something more diverse than a different shape of pasta each night. Read more about me and CITK, and keep in touch: