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Posts Tagged ‘Lentils’

Lentil & Lemon Pasta

We loved this! Something a bit different when we’re all fed up with our usual pasta staples. Also perfect for using leftover coriander, which seems to be an almost permanent feature in our veg drawer. Of course you can use whatever pasta you happen to have. The original recipe suggested fettuccine, we used trofie – no matter.

Wine Suggestion: a simple white that veers towards texture rather than ripe fruit is your match for this. We had a La Piuma (meaning feather) Pecorino Terre di Chieti from the western coat of central Italy. Pecorino was an obscure local variety of grape, but one we increasingly suggest and drink and think it has a great future; a charmer.

Lentil & lemon fettuccine – serves 4

  • 140g Puy lentils or brown lentils
  • 300g dried pasta
  • 50g butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • large handful of coriander, leaves and stems roughly chopped
  • 150g Greek yoghurt

Rinse the lentils in a sieve, then put into a medium saucepan and cover with plenty of cold water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 20-30 minutes or until tender (careful not to overcook as we did). Add plenty of salt about 10 minutes into the cooking time. Drain and keep warm.

Cook the pasta, then drain and return to the pan. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the onion until lightly golden, then stir in the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes. Stir the lentils, onion and garlic, lemon zest and juice, coriander and yoghurt into the cooked pasta. Finish with plenty of black pepper.

(Original recipe by Celia Brooks Brown in BBC Good Food Magazine, May 2010.)

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Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower with Dhal

A vegan dish for mid-week that is not only super-healthy but very tasty too.

Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower with Dhal – serves 4

FOR THE CAULIFLOWER:

  • 1 large cauliflower, sliced into 1cm steaks (or you can break into florets but don’t waste the stalk)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

FOR THE DHAL:

  • ½ tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely diced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp medium curry powder
  • 250g red lentils
  • 400ml tin light coconut milk
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • generous handful of spinach leaves
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • 2 tbsp flaked almonds, toasted

Preheat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas 6.

Put the cauliflower into a large roasting tin and sprinkle with the olive oil.

Roast the cauliflower for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and scatter over the turmeric and garlic. Return to the oven for a further 15 minutes or until browned and tender.

Meanwhile, heat the coconut oil in a lidded saucepan and gently fry the onion and chilli for about 4 minutes.

Add the cumin, garlic and curry powder and cook for another couple of minutes before stirring in the lentils, coconut milk and stock. Bring to the boil then cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the lentils are soft.

Add the spinach and stir until wilted. Stir in the coriander and season to taste.

Squeeze the lemon over the cauliflower and serve with the dhal and the toasted almonds.

(Original recipe from The Fast 800 by Michael Mosley, Short Books, 2019.)

 

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Aash-e reshte

This soup, from Yasmin Khan’s Saffron Tales, is delicious and also very filling – perfect for lunch on a cold day and a lesson in how to use dried herbs.

Aash-e reshte – serves 4 to 6

  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 x 400g tin of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 150g green lentils, rinsed
  • ½ tbsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp dried dill
  • 1 tbsp dried mint
  • 1 tbsp dried coriander
  • 1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (methi)
  • 500ml water
  • 1 litre good chicken stock or veg stock
  • 100g spaghetti, broken in half
  • 200g spinach, roughly chopped
  • 25g bunch chives, finely chopped
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 ½ tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

For the toppings:

  • 1 medium onion, finely sliced into half-moons
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 200g Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp dried mint

Heat the sunflower oil in a large heavy-based pan with a lid. Add the onion and fry over a low heat for 10-15 minutes. When softened, add the garlic and fry for another 2 minutes.

Add the chickpeas, beans, lentils, turmeric, dried herbs and water. Stir, cover with a lid, and leave to simmer over a low heat for 40 minutes. Stir occasionally and add another cup of water if it shows signs of sticking.

Add the stock and spaghetti to the pan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the fried onion topping. Dust the sliced onion with the flour and salt. Heat the oil in a frying pan until sizzling, then add the onion and fry over a medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Drain on some kitchen paper and sprinkle with a little more salt.

Add the spinach, chives, lemon juice, soy sauce, olive oil, salt and pepper to the soup. Leave to simmer for another 10 minutes, then taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Serve with a spoonful of yoghurt, the crispy onions and a sprinkling of dried mint.

(Original recipe from The Saffron Tales by Yasmin Khan, Bloomsbury, 2016.)

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Sausages and green lentils with tomato salsa

Italian-style comfort food with honest, rustic flavours. Generous portions of deliciousness and tastes even better on the second day. Do seek out proper Italian sausages if you can – some of them are gluten-free as well for our coeliac friends.

Wine Suggestion: playing on the rustic theme works well by looking for an earthy wine match, you also need a bit of acidity which you can often find in Italian wines. We’ve successfully tried some cheaper Rosso Conero from the Marche made from Montepulciano and simple Chianti made from Sangiovese. Alternately the Insoglio del Cinghiale from the Maremma steps it up a notch, and then a step further the Pira Luigi Serralunga Barolo.

Salsicce con lenticchie verdi e salsa de pomodoro – serves 4

  • 8 good-quality Italian sausages
  • 2-3 sprigs of thyme
  • 500g purple-sprouting broccoli or cima di rapa
  • juice of ½ a lemon

FOR THE SALSA ROSSA:

  • 1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 small stick of cinnamon
  • 1-2 small dried red chillies, crumbled
  • 2-3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 x 400g tins of plum tomatoes

FOR THE LENTILS:

  • 400g Puy lentils or lentichhie di Castelluccio
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • a handful of flat-leaf parsley, leaves chopped and stalks reserved
  • red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
  • a small handful of thyme tips

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Start with the salsa by heating some oil in a saucepan and cooking the onion, garlic, cinnamon stick and chilli over a gentle heat for about 10 minutes or until the onions are soft. Turn up the heat and add the red wine vinegar, then turn the heat to low and add the tinned tomatoes (chop them up with you hands or with a wooden spoon). Simmer the sauce slowly for about half an hour while you cook the lentils.

Put the lentils into a large pot, cover with water and add the whole cloves of garlic, the bay leaf and the parsley stalks (tied together so they’re easy to remove at the end). Simmer for about 20 minutes, checking to make sure the liquid still covers the lentils. Check regularly near the end of the cooking time to make sure they don’t overcook.

Toss the sausages in a small bit of olive oil and bake in a roasting tray for about 25 minutes until golden.

When the sausages are cooked either boil or steam the broccoli until cooked, then drain and toss with some lemon juice, good olive oil and seasoning.

Fish the parsley stalks and bay leaves out of the cooked lentils and pour off most of the water. Mash the garlic cloves with a spoon and mix into the lentils with 4 tbsp of good olive oil and 1 to 2 tbsp of vinegar. Stir in the chopped parsley, then mix and season.

Pour away any fat from the sausages and slice thickly.

Remove the cinnamon stick from the salsa and season well.

Put the lentils onto plates, spoon over the salsa and top with the sliced sausages. Sprinkle with the thyme tips and serve with the broccoli.

(Original recipe from Jamie’s Italy by Jamie Oliver, Michael Joseph, 2005.)

 

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Salmon on lentils with herb relishEveryone loves salmon in our house and it helps with our oily fish intake, which makes us feel good about ourselves. The lentils in this dish make it good and hearty and the herb relish is fresh and delicious.

Wine Suggestion: despite it being traditional to drink rosé only during summer we like to have it all year round, and for oily “pink” fish like salmon a Provençal rosé, from Chateau Vignelaure makes a great match

Salmon on lentils with herb relish – serves 4

FOR THE LENTILS:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ a small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, diced
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • 150g Puy lentils
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 275ml chicken stock or water
  • squeeze of lemon juice

FOR THE HERB RELISH:

  • 50g herb leaves (parsley, basil, mint & chives)
  • 1½ tbsp capers, rinsed
  • 2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 7½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil

FOR THE SALMON:

  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 4 x 175g salmon fillets

Start with the lentils by heating the oil in a saucepan and cooking the onion, celery and carrot until starting to soften. Stir in the lentils, thyme & stock and season with pepper. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes but keep an eye on the lentils as they can turn mushy in minutes.

Meanwhile, chop the herbs very finely and mix with the other relish ingredients.

Heat the butter and oil for the salmon in a large frying pan. Season the fillets on both sides and cook over a high heat, skin side down, until the skin is crispy. Turn the fish over carefully and cook over a medium heat for another minute or two or until cooked through.

When the lentils are cooked, add the lemon juice and a good glug of olive oil and some seasoning. Put lentils on each plate and top with the salmon fillets and relish.

(Original recipe from Food from Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2010.)

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Tajik green lentil & rice soup

We made this because we had lentils, onions, celery and carrots lying around and we hate wasting anything. This is  hearty and perfectly adequate as as a stand-alone dish. The herb paste and goat’s cheese make it extra special.  Not at all bad for a leftovers soup!

Wine Suggestion: as this is so hearty and earthy a round, juicy red matches this dish well. The Beelgara Shiraz from the Riverland in Australia, while not particularly complex works well because of the warm bramble and plum flavours, medium body and gentle tannins that don’t dominate but rather sit delightfully alongside the flavours of the lentils, pesto and cheese.

Tajik Green Lentil & Rice Soup – serves 4

  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • 200g green or brown lentils, washed
  • 150g brown rice, washed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 litre hot vegetable stock
  • 120g crumbly goat’s or sheep’s cheese

For the herb paste:

  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • a good handful of flat-leaf parsley
  • a good handful of coriander
  • a handful of mint
  • a handful of pistachios
  • a squeeze of lemon juice

Heat a large saucepan over a medium heat and add a good glug of olive oil. Throw in the onion, celery, carrot & tomatoes and cook until softened. Add the garlic, cumin seeds & allspice. Cook for another minute then stir in the lentils, rice & bay leaves.

Pour in the vegetable stock, bring to the boil, then turn down and cover the pan. Cook for 20-30 mintues or until the rice and lentils are tender.

To make the herb paste: put all the ingredients in a small blender with a good pinch of salt and pepper, then whizz to a thick puree.

Thin the soup with a little hot water and taste for seasoning. Serve in bowls with the herb paste & crumbled cheese on top.

(Original recipe from Samarkand by Caroline Eden & Eleanor Ford, Kyle Books, 2016.)

Tajik herb paste

 

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Chicken, date & lentil pilaf with saffron butter

This tasted luxurious and refreshing with the saffron butter and orange, top notch treatment for your leftover roast chicken!

Wine Suggestion: This called for an Alsace Pinot Gris, well more specifically the Bott-Geyl Pinot d’Alsace “Metiss” which is actually a blend of all the Pinot’s you can think of plus Pinot Noir to form a layered and textured wine with lovely freshness and hints of spice that brought out the saffron and orange flavours. Bott-Geyl are a brilliant, biodynamic producer and I think each vintage they build upon the past and deliver even more. This bottle we had lying in our cellar, so they age nicely for a few years, if you can resist, but don’t worry, they taste just as good fresh and young.

Chicken, date & lentil brown rice pilaf with saffron butter – serves 6

  • 15g unsalted butter, plus an additional 30g for the saffron butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 300g brown basmati rice, washed until the water runs clear
  • 700ml chicken stock
  • 12 dates, pitted and sliced thinly, lengthways
  • finely grated zest of 1 orange and juice of ½
  • 200g Puy lentils, rinsed
  • good squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 350g cooked chicken, torn in to pieces
  • 25g chopped, unsalted pistachios or toasted flaked almonds
  • 4 tbsp roughly chopped coriander leaves
  • generous pinch of saffron strands
  • 300g Greek yoghurt

Heat the 15g of butter in a heavy-based saucepan and sauté the onion until soft and lightly coloured. Add the garlic and continue to cook for another couple of minutes. Add the rice and stir until well coated with the butter and starting to toast. Add the chicken stock, dates, and orange zest and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and cook for about 30 minutes by which time the stock will have become absorbed. If it starts to look dry add a little boiling water.

Meanwhile, cook the lentils in lots of boiling water until tender. They can take between 15-30 minutes so keep checking to ensure they don’t turn to mush. When cooked, drain and rinse in hot water and add to the rice. Fork through, season with salt and pepper and a good squeeze of lemon juice.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and quickly reheat the cooked chicken, then season. Gently fork through the rice and lentils along with the nuts, coriander and orange juice. Taste again for seasoning.

Quickly make the saffron butter by melting the 30g butter in a pan, add the saffron and stir so the butter takes on the colour.

Put the rice on a serving platter, spoon on some yoghurt,  pour on the saffron butter and serve.

(Original recipe from A Bird in the Hand by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2015.)

 

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Turkish carrots with lentils & herbs

We seem to permanently have a half-empty bag of carrots in the bottom of the fridge. This side dish puts them to excellent use and any leftovers are perfect for lunchboxes.

Turkish Carrots & Lentils with Herbs – serves 4-6 as a side dish

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1½ tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • ¼-½ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 100g green or Puy lentils
  • 6 large carrots, sliced
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 275ml vegetable stock/water
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint, parsley or dill
  • good squeeze of lemon juice
  • extra virgin olive oil, to serve

Heat the oil in a saucepan and sauté the onion until soft and pale gold. Add the garlic and spices and cook for 2 minutes. Then add everything else except the herbs, lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil.

Bring to the boil and cook until the carrots are tender and the liquid has been absorbed – about 30 minutes.

Taste, add the herbs and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Add a generous slug of extra-virgin olive oil and serve warm, hot or at room temperature.

(Original recipe from Food From Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2010.)

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Smoked Haddock witha creamy green lentil stew

The pictures just don’t do justice with how delicious this dish tasted; highly recommended!

Wine Suggestion: Try complementing the smoky fish with an oaked white such as a New World Chardonnay.

Smoked haddock with lentils – serves 2

  • 250ml double cream
  • 350g piece of smoked haddock, skin removed
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 medium carrots, finely diced
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • a thick slice of butter
  • 150g green lentils
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • a large handful of chopped parsley

Put the cream in a shallow pan. Add the haddock, peppercorns and bay leaves. Bring to the boil, then turn off and cover with a lid.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over a moderate heat. Cook the carrot and onion in the butter for about 5 minutes, then add the lentils and vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the lentils are almost soft, then stir in the cream from the fish. Continue cooking until the liquid has reduced to just cover the lentils.

Add the parsley and season. Divide the lentils between two dishes and serve the haddock on top.

(Original recipe from Nigel Slater’s Eat: The little book of fast food, Fourth Estate, 2013.)

 

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We challenge you to stop once you’ve started eating this! Serve as a main dish with some Greek yoghurt or yoghurt with cucumber. Leftovers are good served at room temperature.

Mejadra – to serve 6

  • 250g green or brown lentils
  • 4 medium onions
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 250ml sunflower oil
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1½ tbsp coriander seeds
  • 200g basmati rice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1½ tsp ground allspice
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 350ml water

Put the lentils in small saucepan, cover generously with water, bring to the boil and cook for 12-15 minutes or until they are soft but still have some bite, then drain.

Thinly slice the onions and put on a large flat plate. Sprinkle with flour and 1 tsp salt and toss with your hands. Heat 250ml sunflower oil in a medium heavy-based saucepan over a high heat. The oil is ready when a small piece of onion sizzles vigorously. Reduce the heat to medium-high and add a third of the onion. Fry for 5-7 minutes, stirring now and then, until golden-brown and crispy. Use a slotted spoon and transfer to a colander lined with kitchen paper and sprinkle over a little more salt. Repeat with the next two batches (add a bit more oil if necessary).

Discard the oil and wipe the saucepan clean. Add the cumin and coriander seeds and put over a medium heat and toast the seeds for a minute or two. Add the rice, olive oil, turmeric, allspice, cinnamon, sugar, ½ tsp salt and lots of black pepper. Stir until the rice is coated with oil, then add the cooked lentils and the water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer on a very low heat for 15 minutes.

Remove from the heat, remove the lid and quickly cover with a clean tea towel. Seal tightly with the lid and leave for 10 minutes.

Add half the fried onion and gently fork through. Pile up in a shallow serving bowl and top with the rest of the onion.

Wine Suggestion: This dish deserves a light red without too much aggressive tannins, weight or alcohol. A youthful Syrah from a lesser appellation in the Rhone would work, like St Joseph or Crozes-Hermitage. Alternately, try a youthful local red from the Golan Heights or Lebanon where the spiciness and warmth will also compliment the flavours.

(Original recipe from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, Ebury Press, 2012)

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Surprisingly light and healthy despite the big, rich flavours.

Red Lentil & Chorizo Soup – to serve 6

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g cooking chorizo, peeled and diced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • pinch of cumin seeds
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika, plus extra for sprinkling
  • pinch of golden caster sugar
  • small splash red wine vinegar
  • 250g red lentils
  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomato
  • 850ml chicken stock
  • plain yogurt, to serve

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the chorizo and cook until crispy and the oil has run. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside but leave the oil in the pan. Fry the onion, carrot and cumin seeds for about 10 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for another minute. Sprinkle in the the paprika and sugar, cook for a minute then add the vinegar. Simmer briefly, then add the lentils and pour over the tomatoes and chicken stock.

Stir well, then simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Blitz in a blender but you don’t want it completely smooth.

Serve drizzled with the yogurt, a little extra olive oil if you like, and a sprinkle of paprika.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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A delicious main course salad by Yotam Ottolenghi.

Lentils with Grilled Aubergine – to serve 4

  • 2 medium aubergines
  • 2 tbsp good-quality red wine vinegar
  • 200g Puy lentils, rinsed
  • 3 small carrots, peeled
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • ½ white onion
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp  each roughly chopped parsley, coriander and dill
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche (or natural yogurt)
  • sea salt and black pepper

If you have a gas hob, you can put the aubergines directly on two moderate flames and roast for 12-15 minutes, turning often, until the flesh is soft  and the skin is burnt all over. You should protect the area around the hob with foil beforehand. Alternatively you can put the aubergines on a foil-lined baking tray and put under a hot grill for 1 hour, turning a few times. The aubergines need to completely deflate and the skin should burn and break. Make sure you pierce the aubergines in a few places with a sharp knife to avoid explosions!

Heat the oven to 140ºC/Gas Mark 1. Cut the aubergines open and scoop the flesh out into a colander, avoiding the black skin. Leave to drain for at least 15 minutes and then season with plenty of salt and pepper and ½ tbsp of the vinegar.

While the aubergines are grilling, put the lentils in a medium saucepan. Cut one carrot and half a celery stick into large chunks and throw them in. Add the bay leaf, thyme and onion, cover with lots of water and bring to the boil. Simmer on a low heat for up to 25 minutes, or until the lentils are tender, skimming away the froth occasionally. Drain in a sieve. Remove and discard the carrot, celery, bay leaf, thyme and onion and transfer the lentils to a large bowl. Add the rest of the vinegar, 2 tbsp of the olive oil and lots of salt and pepper; stir and set aside somewhere warm.

Chop the remaining carrot and celery into 1cm dice and mix with the tomatoes, the remaining oil, the sugar and some salt. Spread in an ovenproof dish and cook in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the carrot is tender but still firm.

Add the cooked vegetables to the warm lentils, followed by the chopped herbs and stir gently. Adjust the seasoning. Spoon the lentils onto plates. Pile some aubergine onto each portion and top with a dollop of crème fraÎche. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil.

Wine Suggestion: The lentils and aubergine have an earthy flavour which would be complemented by a juicy Grenache or Zinfandel based wine. Try and find one that’s not too heavy though as big flavours could overwhelm this dish.

(Original recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty, Ebury Press, 2010.)

 

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Simple to make which makes it a perfect dish after a long day at work, plus it is packed full of flavour and deliciousness. We used Beluga lentils, which are really just a variation on Puy lentils, that hold a lovely black colour, glisten well when served and retain a good firmness when cooked; ordinary Puy lentils will work just as well.

Lentils with squash and feta – to serve 2

  • 100g Beluga lentils
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • olive oil
  • 200g butternut squash, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, finely sliced
  • a pinch of chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 50g feta, crumbled
  • 1/2 small bunch parsley, chopped

Cook the lentils in the stock for 15-20 minutes or until tender, then drain. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a non-stick frying pan. Add the squash and some seasoning then cook for about 5 minutes. Add the onions and chilli and cook for another 5 minutes or so or until the squash is golden and tender. Add the cumin and stir through. Add the lentils and stir to combine. Stir in the parsley then divide between two plates and scatter with the crumbled feta.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

Wine suggestion: the earthiness of the ingredients pair well with medium bodied, earthy wines – a classic match would be a pinot noir for a red, or a sylvaner in a white.

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We’ve admired Denis Cotter from afar and when we got his new cookbook devoured it as usual. What we found was that each recipe had loads of component which built up a brilliant spectrum of flavours, and yet appeared so complex that unless you have time and patience (and sometimes the ingredients too) you’d rarely make the dishes. This one is an exception as it really comes together quite easily and the flavours are superb. We are definitely encouraged and will try more!

Spiced haloumi on a warm Puy lentil, spinach & beetroot salad – to serve 4

  • 2 medium beetroot, washed, cooked and peeled (we boiled ours for about 25 minutes)
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • 100ml red wine
  • 100g Puy  lentils (we used Beluga)
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 dried bird’s eye chillies, ground (or less if you prefer)
  • 2 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, ground
  • finely grated zest of 1 lime and juice of 2
  • 200g haloumi cheese, cut into 8 slices
  • 100g baby spinach leaves

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4.

Slice the beetroot into thin wedges, toss with the balsamic vinegar and a little olive oil and roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes, until starting to caramelise.

Meanwhile, bring the vegetable stock and red wine to the boil in a large pan. Add the lentils, thyme and garlic, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, uncovered, until the lentils are just tender but still firm. If there is any liquid left, turn the heat up and boil until it is almost gone. Stir in the roast beetroot and scallions, and remove from the heat. Season with salt and pepper.

Mix the chillies, cumin and lime zest together. Halve the haloumi slices diagonally.

Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and fry the haloumi until browned on both sides. Sprinkle the spice mix and juice of 1 of the limes over the cheese and toss to coat.

Place some spinach on each plate and scatter some of the lentil mix over. Arrange the haloumi slices on top and finish with the remaining lime juice.

(Original recipe from Denis Cotter’s For the love of Food, Collins, 2011.)

Wine Suggestion: You need something that’s earthy for the beetroot and lentils but also fruity and juicy to balance the heat of the spices. Try a Chilean red made from the Carmenere grape which is an emerging match for spicy food (including Indian curry!).

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Chilli & tangerine braised lentils (to serve 8 as a side dish)

4 tbsp olive oil

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

1 celery stick, finely chopped

2 red chillies, deseeded, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

450g dried Puy lentils, rinsed

1.2 litres hot ham cooking liquor (see recipe below)

zest and juice of 3 tangerine, plus juice of 3 reserved from ham recipe below

2 tbsp creme fraiche

bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped

  • Heat the oil in a big saucepan and add the carrot, onion, celery, chilies and garlic. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until starting to soften.
  • Add the rinsed lentils, pour on the hot cooking liquor and two-thirds of the tangerine juice, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the lentils are tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Add more liquor if the lentils look dry.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the tangerine zest and remaining juice. Season and allow to cool a bit before stirring in creme fraiche and parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature (we preferred them warm).

Click here for the original recipe from BBC Good Food.

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