Austin360Cooks: Slow cooker coconut curry lentils to celebrate an historic night

With a Friendsgiving coming up next weekend, a cookie contest to oversee and a kindergartner with a newly broken arm, fall is coming to a somewhat frazzled peak in my house.

I don’t really mind the chaos — well, I coulda done without the broken arm this morning — but it also feels like this is just life at its loudest.

These curried lentils are made with coconut milk and cooked in a slow cooker. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

These curried lentils are made with coconut milk and cooked in a slow cooker. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

We were pretty loud last night during that World Series game, and it was a good thing I’d started a batch of slow cooker lentils before the game started. I’d seen Washington Post food writer Joe Yonan share his most recent story on grains and beans that has a recipe for curried lentils in coconut milk from “Small Victories” by Julia Turshen.

Right around dinnertime yesterday, I saw a bag of lentils in my pantry that I’m pretty sure I moved from my old house to my new house more than a year and a half ago. “Time to use these up,” I thought to myself as I reached for the lentils and then the slow cooker.

I didn’t bloom the spices in oil in the same way that Julia does in the book, but simply adding them to the slow cooker with the lentils and coconut was just fine for what I needed: A quick, prepared dish that I can use for lunches or a quick dinner over the next few days.

I didn’t know that, a few hours later, I’d need a second dinner after staying up extra late to watch the Cubs win the World Series, but those lentils fit that bill pretty well. I served mine with a scoop of plain yogurt and chopped green onions on top, which reminded me of those lentils I had at a porridge shop in Copenhagen a few months ago.

They were a cozy accompaniment to a history-making night, one of many we seem to be having lately.

I’d love to see what you make on November nights like these, when it gets dark early and everything is ramping up for the holidays. You can share your photos with #Austin360Cooks on Instagram. Each Wednesday, we run some of our favorites in the print food section. You can see the most recent submissions in the gallery below the recipe.

Slow Cooker Curried Coconut Milk Lentils

2 cups dried lentils
1 tsp. ginger paste (or 1/2 tsp. powder)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. salt
One (13 1/2-oz.) can coconut milk, shaken
2 cups water or vegetable broth
Plain yogurt, for garnish, for garnish
Chopped green onions, for garnish

Rinse the lentils and pick out any small debris that might remain. Place them in the slow cooker with the remaining ingredients, except for the garnishes. Cook on high for two hours or on low for three until the lentils are soft. Serve with a scoop of yogurt and green onions. Serves 6.

— Adapted from a recipe in “Small Victories” by Julia Turshen (Chronicle, $35)

//storify.com/broylesa/austin360cooks-november-2016.js?border=false&template=grid[View the story “Austin360Cooks: November 2016” on Storify]

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