Sometimes you can’t beat an old favourite. The weather recently took a turn and mentally I craved something a bit more autumnal rather then “summer fresh”.
A recipe I keep going back to is the rather fabulous gingered puy lentils. I love lentils with their texture and earthiness. I am quite happy just to run some finely diced vegetables through them. Adding some heat and sweetness though takes them to another level. As ever, I didn’t have all the necessary ingredients so I had to improvise but it ended up well.
The recipe starts with frying a large onion (some shallots), 5cm of grated fresh ginger, a large grated garlic clove and a red chilli. You can choose your chilli, and quantities thereof, but for me this dish is about gentle warmth rather than zing – it should taste very well balanced.
When this is softened and coloured I added some kaffir lime powder (about a teaspoon) and then 450g of lentils. The recipe also asks for zest of 2 limes. I only had lemons and so I added the zest of one of them. After a quick stir I added about 800ml of vegetable stock and boiled for ten minutes before reducing to a simmer for twenty minutes. The recipe calls for coconut cream which I occasionally have. On this occasion I boiled a large can of coconut milk down so that it wouldn’t add to the wetness but would add stronger flavour.
When the lentils were cooked and soft I stirred in the coconut milk and also improvised the juice of two limes into the juice of one lemon with some added agave for slight sweetness. I could eat this dish on its own as comfort food with a sprinkle of chopped coriander on top. It is warm and just has a gentle heat coming through.
The original recipe is with sausages but on this occasion I had it with roast cod and wilted spinach. I made enough for a couple of meals and so we had it again with garlic chicken pastries. I can’t recommend it enough.