It's pretty bleak around here, and during bleak times, I turn to gruel. Whole pots of it. Comfort food I can cook a big batch of and eat for days. I'm thinking lentils.
I'm thinking lentils because they're the ultimate gruel, and I'm thinking lentils because I recently ordered a new cookbook. I've been cooking from my stepmother's copy for months (see recipes here for balsamic onions, basil oil, and sweet potato and goat cheese frittata), but I finally have my very own copy, all the way from ye olde England, of Skye Gyngell's A Year in My Kitchen.
To celebrate, or wallow, as the case may be, a recipe.
Lentils! Do you think they're legumes? Skye Gyngell calls them pulses. You should call them pulses, too, unless you want to seem like a crass American. Also, colour and organisation and al-you-min-ee-um.
I love lentils, and non-crass, non-American Skye Gyngell suggests keeping them in your "toolbox," which is not a British euphemism for refrigerator; she's suggesting braised lentils should be a staple you keep around your
And, frankly, I agree. Make braised lentils and serve them (to yourself; your husband probably won't eat them) for dinner, for example with roasted vegetables and feta on a bed of arugula, and then eat the leftovers all week—scattered on dressed greens, with some cherry tomatoes and a little goat cheese...
or straight from the Tupperware, in bed, while looking at photos of your dog (this last serving suggestion I just cannot recommend unless you are an intensely maudlin person, in which case, go for it).
adapted from A Year in My Kitchen
[This recipe is really just a guide; you certainly don't have to have all of these ingredients—other than the bay leaves and the garlic or onion, you could substitute or leave out most anything. And a balsamic vinaigrette would make a nice dressing, you could add fresh herbs after the lentils were cooked, etc.]
500 g Puy (French) lentils
1 onion, peeled and quartered
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 3 chunks
2 garlic cloves, peeled
~1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and very roughly chopped
5 thyme and/or parsley sprigs
2 bay leaves
1 T chopped cilantro
2 T sherry vinegar
2 T tamari or soy sauce
2 T sesame or walnut oil
1. Place the lentils in a deep saucepan with everything up to the cilantro.
2. Add enough water to cover the lentils completely and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower the heat and simmer until the lentils are cooked but still have a bite (about 20 minutes).
3. Immediately remove from the heat and drain in a colander, removing the chunks of stuff (carrots, garlic, onion, herbs, etc.) then tip the lentils into a bowl. While still warm (so they absorb the flavours better; yes, flavours), dress with the sherry vinegar, tamari, and chosen oil.
4. Crawl into bed and eat.