Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Braised Lentils

They can sound cliched or boring, but don't forget to eat your lentils; with 12 grams of protein per serving and chalk full of iron, they're undeniably a vegan superfood.  If you're looking for a great way to pack lentils with flavor, look no further.  A clove-studded onion is just the start of this lentil dish.

  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 small peeled onion
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 and 1/2 cups petite green lentils*
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 tablespoons sherry**
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced and peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 and 3/4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1. Insert the cloves into the peeled onion.

2. Combine the onion in a large saucepan with the water, lentils, green onions, sherry, olive oil, ginger, black pepper, garlic, bay leaf, and broth.

3. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 30 minuets - the lentils should be tender from the braising.  Remove the onion and bay leaf with a slotted spoon and discard.

4. Stir in the salt and cook for a final 2 minutes.

If you prefer, double the suggested serving size and make this your main course instead of a side dish.  Incidentally, the lentils pair wonderfully with the Sauteed Escarole with Pine Nuts and Raisins I made last night for this blog.

*Petite green lentils might also be labeled "French" lentils at the store.

**My go-to vegan sherry is the Fino en Rama from Alvear.  Because it is unfiltered, there's no need to worry about non-vegan filtration methods.

Nutrition Info:
6 servings (about 3/4 cup), Calories 215 

Tasting Notes:
Petite lentils like this hold their shape even after cooking, so the end result was tender but with a nice chewiness.  A savory blend of sherry, onion, garlic, and bay, but I was hoping for more clove flavor.  I'd stir in about 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves next time, instead of simmering the whole cloves in the studded onion and then discarding.  It also felt like a waste to discard the onion, so I'd chop it up and add back to the pot next time.  Try those changes to make this even better.


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