As autumn chill sets in the versatile lentil is a fall superstar

News Nov 06, 2009 Ancaster News

When it starts getting rainy and chilly, it’s time to reach for the lentil stash.

Lentils cook quickly, but it’s hard to catch them before the point of mushiness.

Canada is the second largest producer of lentils after India, and the largest exporter in the world. Most are grown in Saskatchewan.

Mujadara

This is a Middle Eastern dish with a wonderful, comforting texture. There are many versions that range from soupy to porridge-y to dryish. This is a dryish version. You may think it sounds a little dull because there are no spices in this dish but the caramelized onion gives it a wonderful flavour. Makes 4-6 side servings

1 cup (250 mL) brown basmati rice

1/4 cup (60 mL) extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 pounds (750 g) onions, very thinly sliced into half moons

1 cup (250 mL) French, Beluga, brown or green lentils, picked over for stones and chaff

2 cups (500 mL) water

1 teaspoon (5 mL) sea salt

Wash the rice then let it soak in water for 1/2 hour. Drain. While the rice is soaking, heat the oil over high heat in a large pot. Add the onions and cook, stirring constantly until they become a soft mass. Turn the heat to medium low and let the onions deeply caramelize, stirring occasionally. A bit of black here and there is fine.

Remove 1/4 of the onion for garnishing. While the onions are cooking, place the lentils in pot and add water to cover by an inch. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the lentils are firm but not crunchy, about 15-20 minutes depending on the lentils. Drain.

When the onions are ready, stir in the rice. Add the lentils, 2 cups (500 mL) water and the salt. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the rice is tender, 40-60 minutes. Serve garnished with the reserved onion.

Punjabi style lentils

Makes 4-6 side servings

1 1/3 cups (325 mL) French, Beluga, brown or green lentils, picked over for stones and chaff

1 tablespoon (15 mL) grated ginger

1 tablespoon (15 mL) minced garlic 3 large ripe tomatoes, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) cayenne pepper, or more or less to taste

Sea salt to taste

1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 mL) garam masala 1/2 cup (125 mL) whipping cream

1/4 cup (60 mL) cilantro leaves

Rinse lentils well. Simmer the lentils in a medium pot with 8 cups (2 L) water until tender. Remove half of the lentils, mash to a paste and return to the pot. Add the ginger, garlic, two of the tomatoes, cayenne, salt, garam masala and cream. Simmer for 30 minutes longer, adding more water if the lentils get too thick. Serve garnished with the remaining tomato and cilantro.

Red lentil soup with coconut milk and sweet spices

Makes 4-6 servings

6 tablespoons (80 mL) unsalted butter, divided

1 large onion, finely chopped 2 large cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon (15 mL) grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon (5 mL) turmeric

6 cups (1500 mL) vegetable or chicken stock

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) red lentils, picked over for stones and chaff

1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) ground clove

A pinch of nutmeg

2 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) freshly ground black pepper 1 1/4 cups (300 mL) coconut milk

Sea salt to taste

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is translucent. Turn the heat down to medium, and add the garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is lightly browned and very soft. Stir in the turmeric.

Add the stock and the lentils. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 25-30 minutes, or until the lentils are soft and falling apart. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface.

Melt the remaining butter in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, bay leaves and pepper. Stir until they are fragrant, about a minute Pour the butter and spices into the soup. Add the coconut milk, and stir well. Cook for about 15 minutes to blend the flavours. Adjust the seasoning.

NOTE:This is best if it sits overnight to develop the flavours.

Warm lentil and spinach salad with bacon dressing

Add a drizzle of truffle oil to this salad. It is very good, truffled or not, with lamb. Chicory or escarole is great to use in place of the spinach. Makes 6 servings

1/2 pound (227 g) French, Beluga, brown or green lentils, picked over for stones and chaff

1 large shallot, finely diced

2 tablespoons (30 mL) red wine vinegar 1 teaspoon (5 mL) Dijon mustard

3/4 teaspoon (4 mL) sea salt 1/2 cup (125 mL) extra virgin olive oil

1/4 pound (125 g) sliced bacon, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces 2 tablespoons (30 mL) chopped parsley

1 10 ounce bag washed spinach

Pick over the lentils and remove any stones or chaff. Rinse well. Place in a large pot and cover generously with water. Bring to a boil and skim off any foam that rises to the top. Turn down to a simmer and cook until the lentils are tender but not mushy.

While the lentils are cooking, make the vinaigrette. Combine the shallot, vinegar, Dijon mustard and salt in a bowl. Mix well. Slowly beat in the olive oil. Fry the bacon over medium heat until crisp and brown. Discard the fat. Keep the bacon in the frying pan.

Drain the lentils and combine with 2/3 of the vinaigrette and the parsley. Set aside for an hour or so.

When you are ready to serve the salad, toss the spinach with the remaining dressing and divide among 6 plates. Add the lentils to the bacon in the pan and heat quickly over high heat. Spoon the lentils over the greens and serve immediately.

As autumn chill sets in the versatile lentil is a fall superstar

News Nov 06, 2009 Ancaster News

When it starts getting rainy and chilly, it’s time to reach for the lentil stash.

Lentils cook quickly, but it’s hard to catch them before the point of mushiness.

Canada is the second largest producer of lentils after India, and the largest exporter in the world. Most are grown in Saskatchewan.

Mujadara

This is a Middle Eastern dish with a wonderful, comforting texture. There are many versions that range from soupy to porridge-y to dryish. This is a dryish version. You may think it sounds a little dull because there are no spices in this dish but the caramelized onion gives it a wonderful flavour. Makes 4-6 side servings

1 cup (250 mL) brown basmati rice

1/4 cup (60 mL) extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 pounds (750 g) onions, very thinly sliced into half moons

1 cup (250 mL) French, Beluga, brown or green lentils, picked over for stones and chaff

2 cups (500 mL) water

1 teaspoon (5 mL) sea salt

Wash the rice then let it soak in water for 1/2 hour. Drain. While the rice is soaking, heat the oil over high heat in a large pot. Add the onions and cook, stirring constantly until they become a soft mass. Turn the heat to medium low and let the onions deeply caramelize, stirring occasionally. A bit of black here and there is fine.

Remove 1/4 of the onion for garnishing. While the onions are cooking, place the lentils in pot and add water to cover by an inch. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the lentils are firm but not crunchy, about 15-20 minutes depending on the lentils. Drain.

When the onions are ready, stir in the rice. Add the lentils, 2 cups (500 mL) water and the salt. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the rice is tender, 40-60 minutes. Serve garnished with the reserved onion.

Punjabi style lentils

Makes 4-6 side servings

1 1/3 cups (325 mL) French, Beluga, brown or green lentils, picked over for stones and chaff

1 tablespoon (15 mL) grated ginger

1 tablespoon (15 mL) minced garlic 3 large ripe tomatoes, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) cayenne pepper, or more or less to taste

Sea salt to taste

1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 mL) garam masala 1/2 cup (125 mL) whipping cream

1/4 cup (60 mL) cilantro leaves

Rinse lentils well. Simmer the lentils in a medium pot with 8 cups (2 L) water until tender. Remove half of the lentils, mash to a paste and return to the pot. Add the ginger, garlic, two of the tomatoes, cayenne, salt, garam masala and cream. Simmer for 30 minutes longer, adding more water if the lentils get too thick. Serve garnished with the remaining tomato and cilantro.

Red lentil soup with coconut milk and sweet spices

Makes 4-6 servings

6 tablespoons (80 mL) unsalted butter, divided

1 large onion, finely chopped 2 large cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon (15 mL) grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon (5 mL) turmeric

6 cups (1500 mL) vegetable or chicken stock

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) red lentils, picked over for stones and chaff

1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) ground clove

A pinch of nutmeg

2 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) freshly ground black pepper 1 1/4 cups (300 mL) coconut milk

Sea salt to taste

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is translucent. Turn the heat down to medium, and add the garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is lightly browned and very soft. Stir in the turmeric.

Add the stock and the lentils. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 25-30 minutes, or until the lentils are soft and falling apart. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface.

Melt the remaining butter in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, bay leaves and pepper. Stir until they are fragrant, about a minute Pour the butter and spices into the soup. Add the coconut milk, and stir well. Cook for about 15 minutes to blend the flavours. Adjust the seasoning.

NOTE:This is best if it sits overnight to develop the flavours.

Warm lentil and spinach salad with bacon dressing

Add a drizzle of truffle oil to this salad. It is very good, truffled or not, with lamb. Chicory or escarole is great to use in place of the spinach. Makes 6 servings

1/2 pound (227 g) French, Beluga, brown or green lentils, picked over for stones and chaff

1 large shallot, finely diced

2 tablespoons (30 mL) red wine vinegar 1 teaspoon (5 mL) Dijon mustard

3/4 teaspoon (4 mL) sea salt 1/2 cup (125 mL) extra virgin olive oil

1/4 pound (125 g) sliced bacon, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces 2 tablespoons (30 mL) chopped parsley

1 10 ounce bag washed spinach

Pick over the lentils and remove any stones or chaff. Rinse well. Place in a large pot and cover generously with water. Bring to a boil and skim off any foam that rises to the top. Turn down to a simmer and cook until the lentils are tender but not mushy.

While the lentils are cooking, make the vinaigrette. Combine the shallot, vinegar, Dijon mustard and salt in a bowl. Mix well. Slowly beat in the olive oil. Fry the bacon over medium heat until crisp and brown. Discard the fat. Keep the bacon in the frying pan.

Drain the lentils and combine with 2/3 of the vinaigrette and the parsley. Set aside for an hour or so.

When you are ready to serve the salad, toss the spinach with the remaining dressing and divide among 6 plates. Add the lentils to the bacon in the pan and heat quickly over high heat. Spoon the lentils over the greens and serve immediately.

As autumn chill sets in the versatile lentil is a fall superstar

News Nov 06, 2009 Ancaster News

When it starts getting rainy and chilly, it’s time to reach for the lentil stash.

Lentils cook quickly, but it’s hard to catch them before the point of mushiness.

Canada is the second largest producer of lentils after India, and the largest exporter in the world. Most are grown in Saskatchewan.

Mujadara

This is a Middle Eastern dish with a wonderful, comforting texture. There are many versions that range from soupy to porridge-y to dryish. This is a dryish version. You may think it sounds a little dull because there are no spices in this dish but the caramelized onion gives it a wonderful flavour. Makes 4-6 side servings

1 cup (250 mL) brown basmati rice

1/4 cup (60 mL) extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 pounds (750 g) onions, very thinly sliced into half moons

1 cup (250 mL) French, Beluga, brown or green lentils, picked over for stones and chaff

2 cups (500 mL) water

1 teaspoon (5 mL) sea salt

Wash the rice then let it soak in water for 1/2 hour. Drain. While the rice is soaking, heat the oil over high heat in a large pot. Add the onions and cook, stirring constantly until they become a soft mass. Turn the heat to medium low and let the onions deeply caramelize, stirring occasionally. A bit of black here and there is fine.

Remove 1/4 of the onion for garnishing. While the onions are cooking, place the lentils in pot and add water to cover by an inch. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the lentils are firm but not crunchy, about 15-20 minutes depending on the lentils. Drain.

When the onions are ready, stir in the rice. Add the lentils, 2 cups (500 mL) water and the salt. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the rice is tender, 40-60 minutes. Serve garnished with the reserved onion.

Punjabi style lentils

Makes 4-6 side servings

1 1/3 cups (325 mL) French, Beluga, brown or green lentils, picked over for stones and chaff

1 tablespoon (15 mL) grated ginger

1 tablespoon (15 mL) minced garlic 3 large ripe tomatoes, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) cayenne pepper, or more or less to taste

Sea salt to taste

1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 mL) garam masala 1/2 cup (125 mL) whipping cream

1/4 cup (60 mL) cilantro leaves

Rinse lentils well. Simmer the lentils in a medium pot with 8 cups (2 L) water until tender. Remove half of the lentils, mash to a paste and return to the pot. Add the ginger, garlic, two of the tomatoes, cayenne, salt, garam masala and cream. Simmer for 30 minutes longer, adding more water if the lentils get too thick. Serve garnished with the remaining tomato and cilantro.

Red lentil soup with coconut milk and sweet spices

Makes 4-6 servings

6 tablespoons (80 mL) unsalted butter, divided

1 large onion, finely chopped 2 large cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon (15 mL) grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon (5 mL) turmeric

6 cups (1500 mL) vegetable or chicken stock

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) red lentils, picked over for stones and chaff

1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) ground clove

A pinch of nutmeg

2 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) freshly ground black pepper 1 1/4 cups (300 mL) coconut milk

Sea salt to taste

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is translucent. Turn the heat down to medium, and add the garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is lightly browned and very soft. Stir in the turmeric.

Add the stock and the lentils. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 25-30 minutes, or until the lentils are soft and falling apart. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface.

Melt the remaining butter in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, bay leaves and pepper. Stir until they are fragrant, about a minute Pour the butter and spices into the soup. Add the coconut milk, and stir well. Cook for about 15 minutes to blend the flavours. Adjust the seasoning.

NOTE:This is best if it sits overnight to develop the flavours.

Warm lentil and spinach salad with bacon dressing

Add a drizzle of truffle oil to this salad. It is very good, truffled or not, with lamb. Chicory or escarole is great to use in place of the spinach. Makes 6 servings

1/2 pound (227 g) French, Beluga, brown or green lentils, picked over for stones and chaff

1 large shallot, finely diced

2 tablespoons (30 mL) red wine vinegar 1 teaspoon (5 mL) Dijon mustard

3/4 teaspoon (4 mL) sea salt 1/2 cup (125 mL) extra virgin olive oil

1/4 pound (125 g) sliced bacon, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces 2 tablespoons (30 mL) chopped parsley

1 10 ounce bag washed spinach

Pick over the lentils and remove any stones or chaff. Rinse well. Place in a large pot and cover generously with water. Bring to a boil and skim off any foam that rises to the top. Turn down to a simmer and cook until the lentils are tender but not mushy.

While the lentils are cooking, make the vinaigrette. Combine the shallot, vinegar, Dijon mustard and salt in a bowl. Mix well. Slowly beat in the olive oil. Fry the bacon over medium heat until crisp and brown. Discard the fat. Keep the bacon in the frying pan.

Drain the lentils and combine with 2/3 of the vinaigrette and the parsley. Set aside for an hour or so.

When you are ready to serve the salad, toss the spinach with the remaining dressing and divide among 6 plates. Add the lentils to the bacon in the pan and heat quickly over high heat. Spoon the lentils over the greens and serve immediately.