Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Poached Eggs Over Lentils and Rice

This is a filling and satisfying meal.  The toppings and garnishes are what really give the flavor a punch and add visual interest. This would be good served on a bed of green salad and with parsely added on top,  too. Toasting the rice before adding the water makes it fluffier and faster to cook. Serves about 6 people as the main dish.

2 cups brown rice
2 cups red lentils
1 onion, chopped (I used a yellow onion)
2 to 3 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped
4 to 6 teaspoons seasoning mix (I used Rub With Love Chicken Rub)
6 eggs (or 1 per serving depending on how many people you're feeding)
Garnishes such as cooked or raw vegetables, salsa, sour cream or plain yogurt
Flaked sea salt (We like Maldon sea salt flakes ) 
Olive oil (or whatever oil you prefer)

Preheat a medium to large pot over medium heat on the stovetop. Add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom, about 2 tablespoons. Pour in 2 cups of dry brown rice (I actually used a mixture of brown, wild and red rice) and stir while heating. There should be enough oil to lightly coat the rice and keep it from sticking. 

Add a chopped onion, 2 to 3 cloves crushed garlic, and about 4 to 6 teaspoons of your favorite seasoning mix. Continue stirring the rice until the popping sounds subside somewhat and the rice seems evenly toasted. Add 4 cups of water and 2 cups of red lentils. Bring to a rolling boil, then put the lid on the pot, turn off the heat, and leave the pot sitting on the burner. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the rice and beans are tender.

Poach an egg for each serving, and serve on top of the lentils and rice. Sprinkle flaked sea salt on top to taste. The flaked salt adds an amazing flavor and texture to just about any food.

Garnish with your choice of cooked or raw vegetables (I used some leftover sauteed carrots, celery and onion), salsa, sour cream or plain yogurt, and chives and/or parsely.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Beefy Smoked Paprika Lentil Soup

For the best flavor,  save some cooked beef bones or start with raw soup bones by roasting them in the oven. Remove the marrow if desired (It tends to make soup a bit greasy for my taste,  and I save it to spread on toast instead of butter). Cover the bones with water (I think I put in about 16 cups of water), add a small splash of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice,  and simmer them in a large pot with a clove or two of garlic (I threw in a whole,  uncut peeled clove of garlic). Let these cook as long as you like to give the broth flavor and draw the minerals into the broth from the bones--I let them cook for an hour or two this time,  but if you're not highly sensitive to excitotoxins you can let them simmer for a full day or so. 

Add a cut-up onion (I used a sweet yellow onion), several cloves of chopped garlic (I used 4) and about 2 to 3 cups of lentils, bring to a boil and let these simmer in the broth while you cut up the rest of the vegetables and add them.

I added sliced baby carrots (probably the equivalent of 2 or 3 full-sized carrots),  3 large stalks of diced celery,  4 sliced green onions,  about a half cup of chopped fresh parsely, a small head of chopped broccoli and 3 miniature sweet red bell peppers (probably the equivalent of 1/2 to 1 full sized bell pepper. You could use other vegetables such as cauliflower or cabbage as well. 

Once the lentils are tender, remove the bones and add a can of pureed tomatoes (and/or some chopped fresh tomatoes), a splash of wine (optional--I used about 2 tablespoons of cabernet), about a tablespoon or so of dark blackstrap molasses, about a teaspoon of smoked paprika, about a half teaspoon of cumin, two to three teaspoons of sea salt,  and a dash of black pepper. Simmer for a few minutes to allow the flavors to blend before serving. 

Note: The reason for waiting to add the tomatoes and wine until the lentils are cooked is that adding too much acid while cooking can prevent legumes from becoming tender.