March’s Third Thursday – You can call me old March 17, 2011Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Food, random stuff, Third Thursday.
Tags: lentil love, meatless
I guess you can tell we’re well into our forties – I’m writing about (and eating!) lentils more than, really, anyone needs to!
And so, another month is nearly gone – we’re truly on our way to spring, aren’t we? And it’s a darned good thing, too – what with all the lentil action going on around here, it’ll be nice to open a few windows!
So a while ago, I stumbled upon Burp! – a food blog (go figure) written by a couple (just like us!) who consider themselves not-fancy “devoted Milwaukeeans” who enjoy local and seasonal cooking.
Being a former Milwaukeean myself (and now a devoted Rochesterian), of course I had to check them out. Wouldn’t you? And so I subscribed to that blog, like I’ve subscribed to so many others.
And then the other day, we found ourselves with half a package of sandwich rolls (they were on sale!), so, if I didn’t want to thow them out (it’s kind of lame buying something on sale if it’s going to go to waste!), I knew we’d want to do something with them – and soon.
And it wasn’t quite grilling weather.
wanted needed something reasonably healthy. Veggie burgers? Bean patties?
And then I remembered the Sloppy Lentils that I’d seen a while back, and Peeps was game, so we gave them a try.
The recipe is available right here, so I’m not going to repeat it.
The idea, obviously, is a meatless version of sloppy joes (or janes)- replacing the beef (or turkey) with lentils.
And I guess, if you can replace ground beef with ground turkey, you can replace it with lentils, right?
Once the vegetables (onion, red pepper and carrots) are diced, we saute the onion and pepper in a bit of olive oil, then bloom the the spices (chili powder and ground chipotle powder) – stir them with the oil just until they’re fragrant.
And by “fragrant” I mean “you stick your face near it and get a snoot full of chile.”
Many spices, including chiles, are fat-soluble – their essential flavors are released by heating gently with a little fat.
It’s definitely worth the extra couple of minutes to saute, brown, sear, whatever when you’re cooking in the slow cooker. I look at it as an high-yield investment. Put in 10 minutes now, and walk away for 6 or 8 hours. It’s well worth the time.
Transfer the onions, peppers and spices to the slow cooker, and add lentils, a bunch of carrots, and seasonings – mustard (we used nice whole-grain mustard), a can (28-oz.) of crushed tomatoes (if we didn’t happen to have an elderly can lying around, I wouldn’t be shy about mashing up a quart of our canned tomatoes – just for the record) and a cup of water. Along with a bit of brown sugar and some salt, the recipe also called for some low-sodium soy sauce.
Actually, it called for “Braggs liquid aminos” which neither of us has ever had in the house. The soy sauce is an alternate.
And the whole mess just cooks on low in the slow cooker all day.
Since we made this on a Sunday, we packed it up and stuck it in the fridge for a few days – until soup night, actually.
And then we enjoyed it immensely. It was delightfully hearty and spicy, yet not overly so (for us, anyway).
Surly Boy was here for dinner, and he, unfortunately, didn’t care for it. He said he didn’t like “other things pretending to be meat.”
His loss – guess what I had for lunch the next day!
Altogether, this recipe made about 2 quarts of lentil mixture – and one quart was plenty for 3 sandwiches. The other quart went into the freezer, possibly to serve over polenta one night.
If you’d like to play along, leave a comment with a link to (or description of) your Third Thursday project – tell us what you’re up to! For loose guidelines, or if you want to check out some past Thursdays, they’re right here!