One of my New Year’s resolutions was to eat more vegetables, so I decided to try lentils next. I guess lentils are technically legumes, so they’re not a vegetable (right?), but the recipe I picked had Swiss chard and sweet potatoes in it. Plus lentils seem pretty filling and hearty – a good winter recipe.
I picked this recipe for Smitten Kitchen. I had also sent this one to Tom, but he wasn’t impressed with the carrots (or the idea that it was from a baby food recipe, probably). The recipe seemed easy enough – but don’t they all? – and I was feeling lazy. Basically, you just throw a bunch of aromatics and herbs in a pot with the lentils and broth until the lentils are fully cooked.
I got green lentils, although the recipe didn’t specify. I chose green lentils because: they were the only kind offered through online Safeway grocery delivery, and I was too lazy to go get anything fancier. [Did you know that the French take their lentils very seriously? Apparently, lentils from Le Puy-en-Velay are protected under an Appellation d’origine controlee (AOC). And, I am a dork…but apparently you can totally tell the differences between the Le Puy lentils and regular green lentils. – T]
But. Dude. The level of prep required for a big bowl of smushy legumes was ridiculous! Here’s a rundown:
- Peel garlic, onion, ginger, sweet potato.
- Mince garlic and jalapeño.
- Grate ginger and lime zest.
- Juice lime.
- Dice onion and sweet potato.
- Chop Swiss chard, cilantro, scallions.
There were more steps, but seriously – that was already two cutting boards, for a one-pot meal! I was also supposed to “examine, sort and rinse” the lentils well to “maximize wholesomeness.” I skipped this step, because I am lazy. Are you starting to notice a pattern? [You are supposed to do that pretty much anytime you make beans; I never do. –T]
Anyway, I started by cooking the onions, garlic, jalapeño, and herbs in my Dutch oven. Once the onions were translucent, in went everything else but the Swiss chard. (Which, by the way, was called “California chard” at Whole Foods but the random produce guy assured me it was the same thing.) I brought it to a boil and then let it simmer at medium for 25 minutes, then added the chard to simmer for another 10-15 minutes.
At this point, Smitten assured me the lentils would be tender. At the 10-minute mark, they were still a little al dente. At 15 minutes, though, they seemed soft and it was also after 9:00pm and I was ready to eat, frankly. We stirred in the cilantro, lime juice, and zest.
I wasn’t sure how to serve them – it looked like Smitten had just served the lentils straight up, but that seemed weird to me. So I bought some pre-cooked rice from the hot bar at Whole Foods (again, laaaaaaaazy) [Maybe it is time for a rice cooker, I have been contemplating them recently, but where would I keep one? – T] and served it over that. (in retrospect, maybe I should have gotten more rice.)
Honestly? They were good. I would say the overwhelming flavor was of curry and garam masala – to the point where I don’t know that I could even really taste the jalapeño – and the scallions seemed a little too harsh of a flavor compared to the rest of the dish.
However, Tom declared it “awesome.” It made a TON of food (at least six servings? Maybe more?) and it was really filling – so much that I was almost uncomfortable when I went to bed. And the following night, this happened:
Jack loved them! And he fed himself! So of course I will make them all the time now, because how could I ever deny my little chub chub? [Chub chub? Really? Do you want to give him a complex? – T]