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This cool autumn weather has had me craving hearty soups and stews lately-you name the soup or stew and I've been craving it (or is it a pregnancy thing?!).  To prove that fact, in the last 4 days I've made chicken soup, pesto broccoli minestrone (recipe to come!) and this hearty one-pot wonder.

This is a variation of one of my staple recipes, "Indian-Spiced Lentil Soup" and I have to say, I might just prefer this version as opposed to the original recipe.  This time I opted for a more Mediterranean version by adding thyme, oregano and dill.

You might think that dill sounds odd in such a recipe, but believe me, it adds the perfect pop of flavour and freshness to the dish.  If you don't care much for dill then why not try adding a touch of lemon juice to the stew just before serving to heighten the flavours?!

1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup carrots, finely chopped
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
2 lg. chicken breasts
1 lg. potato
1 cup green lentils
5 cups cold water
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried dill
salt and pepper to taste

Chop veggies finely, making sure they are roughly the same size so they cook evenly. *Quick tip: If you're not a fan of chopping simply throw the veggies in a food processor and let it do all the work for you!

In a large saucepan, on medium heat, saute onion, carrot and celery for 5-7 minutes or until translucent.  Add the lentils and "toast" (as you would risotto) for about 2 minutes.

Add water, spices and whole chicken breasts to the pot and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink inside.

Remove the chicken and let cool slightly.

In the meantime, add the potatoes to the pot.  Once cooled, chop chicken finely or shred into pieces then return immediately to the pot.

Continue to cook uncovered for another 25-30 minutes or until the lentils and potatoes are fork tender.

For a thicker and creamier consistency I like to puree half of the stew with a hand blender (or you can use a food processor).

The result (as you can see) is a VERY thick stew, which is my preference, but if you prefer more of a "soup" then simply puree less.

Serve with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of dill with some fresh focaccia on the side.

What's your favourite autumn stew recipe?  

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