Not really, well, sort of, for awhile. As a BBQ judge about to go into BBQ season, I realized that I need to train just like any athlete. Since I can consume one pound or more of meat in a sitting, I sort of thought it might be a good idea to be somewhat vegetarian, at least during the week. So, instead of being bored out of my mind with black beans and rice every single day for the next couple of months, I decided to look into a few good recipes for vegetarian dishes. I'll be sharing those with you over the coming weeks.
I had bought Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, Wiley 2007, a few months ago but really hadn't picked it up except to browse through it when Jim said he was moving to eating more vegetables. Since then, it hadn't really seen much action, so I thought, hmmm, now is its chance. The recipe below is from that book. The recipe was easy, and turned out incredibly flavorsome with just the right amount of chewiness to the lentils.
Braised Lentils, Spanish Style
From Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, Wiley 2007
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads (optional)
- 1 tablespoon smoked Spanish paprika (pimentón)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 2 cups vegetable stock or water, or more as needed
- 1 cup dried brown lentils, washed and picked over
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Chopped parsley for garnish
1. Put the oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion, celery, and carrot; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic, saffron, and paprika and cook for another minute.
2. Add the bay leaf, wine, stock, and lentils. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low so that the mixture bubbles gently, cover partially, and cook, stirring occasionally and adding stock or water if necessary to keep the lentils from sticking and burning, until the lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. The lentils should be saucy but not soupy. Taste and adjust the seasoning, sprinkle with parsley, and serve or store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
The lentils - pre-cooking.
In their broth - simmering away.
The finished product below.
I used the saffron because I had it in the cabinet and I liked the effect, but I could see that it would be just fine not to put it in.This recipe took me nicely through a couple of lunchtimes this past week. I paired it with a whole wheat pita, lightly toasted and followed with some fruit.
OK, OK, it's not how I want to eat the rest of my life but I see the merit in incorporating more legumes and vegetables into my every day eating. Off to the store now. This weeks menu - penang curry tofu and white bean and kale stew. I promise I'll share - the recipes.