Lentils for breakfast- welcome

Here is your invitation to sample beautiful recipes that are good for you, good for the planet and good to eat. They mainly feature plants, because that's what I try to eat the most. I am not a fancy cook, but I believe that food is one of our greatest pleasures and deserves to be celebrated. Real food, whole food, kind food. Welcome to the feast!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Stephanie's basic lentils

When I listed the ingredients that Stephanie Alexander nominated as going well with lentils, I had a good look through her lentil chapter and decided to give a couple of her classics a whirl. Here's the first one. It's very simple, which appealed to me partly because it was a busy weekend and I didn't want to spend hours faffing in the kitchen. I followed the recipe exactly, people, except that I used tiny green lentils and not big brown ones (cuter) and1tsp Herbies' Italian herbs instead of the sprig of thyme.

Basic brown lentils a la Stephanie
500 g lentils, washed and drained (that's a whole packet)
1 onion quartered (yippee, no real chopping)
1 clove garlic (ditto)
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
salt, pepper, lemon juice
butter or olive oil
chopped parsley

Place lentils, onion, garlic, bay leaf and thyme in a saucepan and cover generously with cold water (I used vegetable stock. I could have sworn I followed the recipe exactly, but clearly can't help myself.) Cover and bring slowly to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a steady simmer and test lentils after 20 mins. If tender, drain into a colander and discard onion, garlic, bay leaf and thyme.

Return lentils to rinsed-out pan and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Stir in butter and parsley.

And that's it!

Stephanie's basic brown lentils with basic boiled cabbage. Now, who wouldn't love that for breakfast with a boiled egg?!
They were delicious when first cooked and would have been lovely as part of dinner with some grilled chicken breast (or roasted squab pigeon, guinea fowl, quail or wild rabbit, if you're Stephanie). The recipe made plenty for breakfast and a nice extra amount to freeze for later. That batch will end up in one of my husband's soups. Yes, I also eat lentil soup every week.

But as breakfast lentils . . . boring. Day after day, basic lentils and cabbage . . . Not an appetising start. I took them for lunch one day with some leftover chicken cacciatore and spinach and that was a divine combo and very filling. Note to self: dals are more flavoursome for breakfast and worth the extra effort. Chomping away despondently I thought again about the mighty Tim with his canned lentils, spinach and cold boiled eggs. What a slow-carb warrior.

By way of contrast, here is a pic of my husband's too-amazing-for-words salad just before he added slices of dry-fried haloumi. Note the tiny roasted golden carrots from the markets. Spring!

This is what I have to put up with for dinner.
Have I persuaded anyone to give up their muesli yet? Let me know your must-have breakfasts, and send me any lentil ideas you'd like me to try. Speak to me.

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