by MELISSA GORDON
Wow — you’re actually reading this? I figured you would see the title and immediately crumple the page in disgust. (I probably would if I hadn’t written it.) Resolutions. Who’s still talking about those?
I am. Want to know why? Because I failed! I was doing fantastically (almost unbelievably so), making it all the way through January with my resolutions still intact. But then February came knocking, bearing gifts of snow and another spell of long underwear weather, and I caved. Argh.
It reminds me of a story my husband loves to tell. He was building a fence with an Amish friend named Benny when he realized that they made a mistake and had to redo a significant portion. My husband was so mad he nearly threw his fencing pliers across the field, but Benny simply responded with remarkable, yet characteristic, matter-of-factness: “I guess we have to fix it.”
So, I guess I have to fix my broken resolutions. No need to worry about the past; just focus on the present. Time to start over. And this warming, grounding stew can be the launching pad.
Squash, Chickpea, and Red Lentil Stew
• 3/4 cup dried chickpeas
• 2 1/2 pounds kabocha squash, or butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
• 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 1 cup red lentils
• 4 cups vegetable broth
• 2 tablespoons tomato paste
• 1 tablespoon minced, peeled fresh ginger
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon saffron
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
• 1/4 cup lime juice
• 1/2 cup chopped roasted, unsalted peanuts
• 1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Soak chickpeas in enough cold water to cover them by 2 inches for 6 hours or overnight. (Alternatively, use the quick-soak method: Place beans in a large pot with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour). Drain when ready to use.
Combine the drained, soaked chickpeas, squash, carrots, onion, lentils, broth, tomato paste, ginger, cumin, salt, saffron and pepper in a 6-quart slow cooker.
Cook, covered, on low until the chickpeas are tender and the lentils have begun to break down, 5 to 6 1/2 hours.
Stir in lime juice. Sprinkle with peanuts and cilantro.
Serve as is or over brown rice or steamed spinach.