Anne Radcliffe: Dinner - It's Not Rocket Science


Crockpot Pork & Lentil Stew

Lentils can help you stretch a little meat


It's pretty much official: my slow cooker is coming into its own for the Hunger Games Challenge. I haven't put it away since the first day I've had it out.

This challenge has been a crash course in the use of lentils for me. I've had them, but I haven't done much with them (apart from deciding I liked them in my multigrain oatmeal that I made a few weeks back). I did, however, know going in how the edible seed pulse is capable of some pretty astonishing things, up to and including making ice cream. They're versatile and easy to cook. A few minutes to learn, a lifetime to master.

While I've not abandoned the ways of the meat, I've discovered on this challenge that lentils are a great way to extend a small amount, particularly soups and stews. Vegetarian or not, here's some good reasons why you should get to know lentils better, regardless of your diet:

  • They're local (with all the sustainability/eco benefits that go along with that): Canada is actually the world's largest exporter of lentils to the global marketplace (99% of them being grown in Saskatchewan). Who knew, eh?
  • They're one of the cheapest sources of protein you can get. My family doesn't like beans, but they'll eat lentils, and lentils come in at about 12 cents per serving, unlike eggs (40 cents per serving) and most other cheap meats, even when they're on sale (~45-60 cents per serving for pork, chicken, ground beef, etc.). 
  • Lentils have a bunch of other health benefits including that they're a high source of dietary fiber, are low in fat, are reasonable in calories, and are high in many minerals including magnesium. 
  • Having not much of a taste of their own, you can sort of put the green ones in everything, and they hold up excellently in the slow cooker.

This rustic slow-cooker pork stew is rich and meaty, it comes together in a flash, and for only a few minutes prep, you can have hot food that you didn't have to slave over a hot stove to get. Serve with chunky bread and butter.


  • 1/2 lb cubed pork stewing meat
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp light oil
  • 1 cup strained tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup green lentils
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups chopped carrot
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 large potato, diced
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • Salt & pepper


 In a frying pan, saute the onion and garlic in the oil with a pinch of salt. Once the garlic begins to brown (2-3 minutes), transfer the onions and garlic into the bottom of the crockpot. Brown the pork, seasoning generously with salt and pepper, and add it to the crockpot as well.

 Add the tomatoes, lentils, bay leaves, carrots, celery, potato and water to the crockpot, stir, cover, and cook on low for 7-8 hours, or 5-6 hours on high, until most of the liquid is absorbed.

 In the last 5-10 minutes, add the peas, and stir again.