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Lovely Little Lentils

March 4, 2011

Let’s take a break from Fashion Week coverage, especially since Paris Fashion Week is shockingly and maddeningly boring so far.

I am pretty sure that I had never eaten a lentil until a month or two ago, when one of my bosses introduced me to Persian Pomegranate Stew, and now I’m a little in love with them. Since I’m pretty sure it’s not exactly a common ingredient in many people’s diets, I thought I’d do a little PR for them. First of all, they’re very tasty. I love their earthiness, and they have a great texture. They also absorb the other flavors of the dish really well. Secondly, they are incredibly good for you.  With virtually no fat, they are a great source of fiber and have a lot of cholesterol-lowering  heart-healthy characteristics. They have more folate than in any other plant food, and are rich in magnesium, which improves blood flow. They also stabilize blood sugars and help replenish iron stores. Yay lentils!

Another great part? I’ve been able to get five meals out of one bag of lentils. These two recipes are delicious and will last you long time.

(Sorry I don’t have exact measurements. Both of these are conglomerates of a number of other similar recipes and I like to think I’m as cool as those grandmothers who don’t measure anything when they cook.)

Persian Pomegranate Stew

3 servings

roughly a pound of ground beef (or lamb)

half the bag of lentils

the seeds of one pomegranate (there’s a great tutorial on how to get the seeds out without staining yourself and your kitchen pink here)

vegetable broth

cilantro

onion

1 tbsp of sugar

olive oil

pepper

turmeric

cinnamon

Heat the onion, garlic, and cilantro with the olive oil until tender and fragrant.

Add the beef (or lamb), lentils, and broth and bring to a boil. Cook around a half an hour. (Be sure to check on it every now and then because it could dry out and more broth, or water in a pinch, would need to be added. Or, if there are ten minutes or less, you can just stop cooking it at this point.)

Add the pomegranate seeds and spices and simmer ten more minutes, unless it’s already dry.

 

Chicken, Lentil, and Apple Salad

2 servings

chicken breast, cubed

half the bag of lentils

one apple, chopped (I recommend Fuji or Gala)

one carrot, peeled and chopped

vegetable stock

herbs de provence

lemon juice

olive oil

(For a vegetarian version, you can leave out the chicken and add celery and/or tomatoes for more substance. You could also add these with the chicken, but I thought it would be too many flavors and textures.)

Put stock, lentils, carrot, herbs, and salt in a pot and bring to a boil. Cook about twenty minutes. (Again, keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t dry up and burn. Lentils are absorbent little buggers. You can add water here if it is drying out before they’re tender because it’ll be drained anyway.)

Meanwhile, cook the chicken in a separate pan in oil.

Once lentils are cooked, drain any excess liquid. Then, fold in the chicken and apple. Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil and stir to incorporate. Then sprinkle with pepper and stir.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 4, 2011 6:43 pm

    Another great use for lentils:
    http://www.molliekatzen.com/recipes/recipe.php?recipe=lentil_walnut_burgers

    Best vegetarian burger I have ever had.

  2. March 4, 2011 6:45 pm

    YES! I love those. I forgot all about them. I guess I lied when I said I never ate lentils before…

  3. March 5, 2011 7:12 pm

    That sounds amazing. Would it be good sans meat?

    Also, I am a damn good canoe trip meal-maker. My cooking with nothing over an open fire is impeccable. But there was this one time there was a bit of a lentil-saster… I have feared the lentil from that day forward.

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