Squash, Chickpea & Red Lentil Stew



Ingredients

3/4 cup dried chickpeas
2 1/2 pounds kabocha squash, (see Note) 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, (see Note)
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

Directions

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 soaked chickpeas, squash, carrots, onion, lentils, broth, tomato paste, ginger, cumin, salt, saffron and pepper in a 6-quart slow cooker.

Put on the lid and cook 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. Serve sprinkled with peanuts and cilantro.

Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

Tips: Kabocha is a squash with a green-streaked rind and tender, sweet orange flesh. An average kabocha weighs two to three pounds.

Considered the world's most expensive spice, saffron contributes a pungent flavor and intense yellow color. It is sold in threads and powdered form.

For easy cleanup, try a slow-cooker liner. These heat-resistant, disposable liners fit neatly inside the insert and help prevent food from sticking to the bottom and sides of your slow cooker.