As someone who lives in fear of leaving home with the flat iron plugged in and at full power, I’ve always been terrified of crock pots, slow cookers, and similar devices that are intended to be left on, conducting heat, electricity and other fire starters whilst you’re out of the home. [That was a long sentence.] The idea that I could return to our condo, though, after a full day of work to find hot meal waiting for me? Well, that sounds like a miracle. Especially if one assumes I have not burned down our building in the process.
Last fall, the team at Ninja Kitchen invited us to a demo of their new Ninja Cooking System, which is sort of like the mother of all crock pots. It doesn’t just cook meals and keep them warm, it has settings for sauteeing, searing, and steam-infused baking and roasting.
The Ninja team (I picture them wearing all black, all the time) was kind enough to send me the product once it was released. As soon as the box arrived, Nick was making all kinds of meat stews or ribs or whatever in it. Meanwhile, I kept a safe distance. And an eye on the fire extinguisher. And a vow to not leave the condo while that thing was on.
Red Lentil and Lemon Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced (I used 4 cloves… let’s be serious)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 1/2 cups dried red lentils
- 6 cups vegetable broth (or water)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- [This can be done on your stovetop, if you're using a traditional crock pot.] Pour oil into pot, set to stovetop high and heat oil. Add carrots, onions, garlic, and salt to pot. Cook uncovered for 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in cumin.
- Stir in lentils and broth and heat to a boil. Set to slow cook low for 5 to 7 hours. Cover and cook until lentils are tender. Stir in lemon juice before serving.
Notes: For my fellow gluten-challenged friends, Arrowhead Mills makes red lentils that are certified gluten-free, and slow cooker-friendly. I included some fresh thyme when cooking the vegetables, and topped the finished product with a drizzle of chili oil. The more kick, the better.
Could I have made this on the stovetop in far less time? Yes, probably. Would our condo have smelled like cumin and garlic all afternoon? Probably not. While there was still plenty of hands on time involved, it was nice to sit back and relax while the Ninja did its thing. One major bonus: there was only one pot to clean (and the Ninja’s non-stick interior made for an easy clean up), as I was able to saute my veggies and cook the soup right in the cooker. My usual soup-making adventures are much messier. And much more low-tech.
I am easing into the idea of leaving the cooker on while I am out. With two weeks left in January (Slow Cooking Month, apparently), I just may get there. If you’re looking for more slow cooker recipes, Julie is hosting a Crock Pot Challenge and has posted some great ideas.
For the record: I received this product at no charge. I was not compensated for this post, and per yoosh, my opinions are all my own. Oh, and remember: safety first,
fun food second.
Also On Tap for Today:
- Winter is back, Boston
- Working on cleaning up my out of control iPhoto situation
- Need a new health or fitness mantra?
Are you down with the slow cooking? Feel free to share a favorite recipe. Or safety tip.