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Monday, January 31, 2011

My "Iron Chef" Recipes: Lentils


I don't have photos of this month's recipes.  Sorry!!  I'll double safeguard so there will be some for the February posts!

There are so many types of lentils! I was really surprised when I started looking into them. They are used in the cuisines of areas that tend to have a dry climate… the Mediterranean, the middle east, north Africa, and the near east. 

They are high in fiber, a good protein source and have some important amino acids. They contain iron too. And they are tasty!

Apricot Lentil Soup

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion -- chopped

2 cloves garlic -- minced

1/3 cup dried apricots

1 1/2 cups red lentils

5 cups vegetable stock

3 Roma (plum) tomatoes -- peeled, seeded and chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

salt -- to taste

ground black pepper -- to taste

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Sauté onion, garlic, and apricots in olive oil. Add lentils and stock. 

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, and season with cumin, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes. 

Stir in lemon juice. Puree 1/2 of the soup in a blender, then return to the pot. Serve.

Servings: 4

Marrakesh Rice and Lentil Soup

3/4 cup lentil -- washed and so in 7 cups water

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 cup rice -- rinsed

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

2 tablespoons flour -- dissolved in 1/2 cup water

1/4 cup lemon juice

4 tablespoons butter

Place lentils with their water, olive oil, cilantro, and paprika in a saucepan and bring to boil. Cover and cook over medium heat for 25 minutes; then add remaining ingredients except flour, lemon juice, and butter. Cook for another 20 minutes or until rice grains are tender but still whole. 

Remove from heat; slowly stir in the flour paste, lemon juice, and butter. 

Return to heat and bring to a boil; then serve immediately. 

Serves 8.

Pine Nut Couscous with Lentils

5 cups water

1 cup dried green lentils

1 cup pine nuts

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


1 2/3 cup quick-cooking couscous -- (10 ounces)

1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries

1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion

1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice -- or to taste

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest 

In a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Add lentils and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until lentils are tender but firm, 30 minutes or as package directs. Drain in a colander, rinse under cold water, and drain again. 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place pine nuts in a small pan and bake, shaking once or twice, until golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool. 

In a medium saucepan, combine remaining 2 cups water, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in couscous, cover and remove from heat. Let sit 5 minutes. 

Scrape couscous into a large bowl and separate grains with a fork. Let cool slightly. Add lentils, pine nuts, remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, cranberries, green onions, mint, lemon juice, parsley, orange zest and lemon zest. Toss gently to mix well. Taste, adding more salt or lemon juice if desired. Serve at cool room temperature. 

Note: You can make this dish ahead, but you may need to add more lemon juice and olive oil if you do, because the lentils and couscous absorb a lot of liquid as they sit.  

Serves 4 - 6

Irish Red Lentil Savory

6 ounces red lentils

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon mixed herbs

1 can tomatoes -- (14 oz)

2 onions -- chopped

2 tablespoons tomato purée

2 ounces butter

1/2 teaspoon basil

salt and pepper

1/2 cup sour cream

6 ounces cheddar cheese 

Place the lentils in a pan with enough water to cover them. Add the herbs and simmer until tender. 
Sauté the onion in the margarine until soft. Add the lentils and all other ingredients apart from the cheese and cream. Simmer for 15 minutes and pour into a greased ovenproof dish. Slice the cheese, and place on top with the cream, then grill or bake 350F.

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