This was one of those Sundays that I had do a bit more cooking that usual. I was heading out to a four day conference wanted to make sure that the kitchen was well stocked with a few prepared meals. I do for my fan club every time I travel so that I know they will be well fed during my absence.
Today I made few dishes that could be eaten on their own as sides, or used in other dishes. To name a few, a I made some spaghetti al pomodoro, some tomato sauce, blanched my Cauliflower florets and then tossed with some herbed EVOO to make a warm vegetable salad. One dish that I took especial care of was lentil based dish. It was an appropriate dish for the season, knowing that the temperature would be hitting the teens then day after, and the the wind would puffing along our Eastern seaboard just to make sure that our bones rattled too.
Curried French Green Lentils with Porcini Ragoût
This dish brings flavors of French , Indian and Italian cuisines together. We are all fond of lentils, one of my favorite peasant dishes. A spice curry inspired seasoning surprisingly blends very well with the taste of lentils and wild porcini mushrooms.
Contrary to its fusion inspired ingredients, this dish's preparation not that difficult. Pre-soak about 1 cup of dried porcini mushrooms in about 1 1/2 cups of warm water. Cook about 3/4 lb of lentils with skins (can't use Indian Dhal lentils here) in your favorite curry spices blend. Not sure what to use? Then try mixing equal quantities turmeric, cayenne pepper, cumin, coriander seed. I started with a 1 1/2 tablespoons of each , and adjusted the heat with some additional cayenne. Also seasoned with chopped garlic (3 cloves) , 1 bay leaf, and some S/P. For the dish I chose some French Green Lentils which I bought À la carte at my local Wholefoods. You can use other varieties as long as they have a skin that won't melt away.
To kick off the dish toss the dry spices, lentils in pot with 4 -6 tablespoons of EVOO, and stir so that the lentils are fully coated and so that some of the oils from the spices are also released. Things will get very fragrant especially if your spices are fresh. Then add about 1 1/2 to 2 quarts of water, until the water rises about 2 inches above the lentils. Bring to a boil, and simmer over low heat until the lentils are tender. Add some warm water if necessary.
When the lentils are almost cooked .add the pre-soaked mushrooms and their water. Simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes.
|Curried French Lentils|
Just to push the multi-ethnic theme one step further, we ate these spicey legumes with a very crisp and slightly earthy Kreinbacher Somló Juhfark Hungarian White a wine, that I picked up at Tarry Market Wines.
A real surprise and burst of flavors. And between the turmeric and lentils, this dish is really good for you, especially on cold winter days.
Enjoy my friends !