Its getting hotter every day, sauerkraut season is just around the corner, and the river seems more delicious with the passing of each hot hour of the afternoon. we recently dined on lentils topped with yogurt: for a moment, in the late summer dusk, the warm evening seemed very indian, as if we were waiting for the monsoon season to begin. simply lentils is a dish that we hope will honor the venerable old tradition of lens culinaris, that humble seed of the near east.
july 4, 2010... covelo
1 1/2 cups dry green lentils
2 Tbl olive oil
1 med onion
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp cumin seed
3 cups tasty broth, veggie or otherwise
The first step is to soak the lentils for 7 hours or overnight, check out our soaking page for directions. drain and rinse the soaked lentils and place in a large pot. cover w/ water by an inch and bring to a boil. with a spoon, remove scum & bubbles that arise. continue to boil for 5 minutes, then dump in a colander to drain off the water.
Meanwhile, give the onion a medium chop and mince the garlic (keeping them separate). place cumin seeds in a dry saute pan, turn heat to medium and toast the seeds. keep an eye on them, shaking the pan occasionally, you’re looking for a light brown color and a lovely smell, 1-2 minutes. remove the seeds from heat & let cool before grinding them to a powder. an old coffee grinder works great, as does a mortar and pestle. the back of a spoon works okay though it’s harder to get a nice powder, no matter what method, cumin is loads tastier when it is freshly roasted and ground!
Once your lentils are draining, take that same pot and put it back on the stove, turn the heat to medium and add the olive oil and onions. saute the onions till lightly golden and translucent, stirring on the occasion, 3-5 minutes. add the garlic and continue to saute till golden & the aroma of garlic fills your nostrils. to the garlic and onion pot, add your veggie broth & turn heat to high. add your strained lentils and just enough water to cover the lentils by a half inch. bring to a boil, add the cumin powder and a few grinds of fresh pepper. apply a lid to your lovely pot and simmer another 20-30 minutes (you may have to add a bit more water to keep the little disc’s covered until the lentils have softened. at this point add a bit of salt to taste, remove the lid encouraging the water to reduce and thicken a bit, another 5 minutes or so.
There we go, simply lentils. it is of middle eastern tradition (where lentils are quite popular) to serve the lentils in a bowl w/ a pad of butter. we added to that a dollop of yogurt and dandelion pesto for a pretty substantial and delicious meal!