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smoky, sweet red lentils

April 6, 2013

Serves 4
Prep time: 35 mins

Sweet lentils main pic
I promised you comfort food, didn’t I?  This is the kind of dinner that puts you into partial shutdown for an hour after eating.

The flavours are intense, with tomato, mustard and molasses.  The caramelised onions add richness and really make the whole thing sing.

This dish is the most perfect partner I can imagine for vegan hot dogs.  It tastes great as a stew on its own too.  It’s bound to be a good topper for a crunchy-skinned baked potato, but since we are still without an oven in this house I will just have to freeze some and save that experience for another time.

Apparently our new oven is going to be installed some time next week, whereupon I intend to make pies.   I think the eternal winter we are experiencing in this part of the world is pushing me towards pastry.  I have been thinking about a Greek-style rice pie, with aubergines and cinnamon.  In fact I have planned this pie in ridiculous, excessive detail, to the last pinch of salt and the last fold of filo.

Hurry up, you oven fitter people!  I can’t hold out much longer.

Sweet lentils close up


Split red lentils, 350g, washed and drained
One 400g tin of tomatoes, pureed in a blender
Molasses, 3 tbsp
Mustard, 2 tsp
Three large onions, peeled, one left whole, the other two chopped into thin-ish slices
Bay leaves, one fresh or two dried
Smoked paprika, 1/2 tsp
Tomato ketchup, 2 tbsp
Vegetable oil, 4 tbsp
Optional: four vegan hot dogs (we had Redwood’s)

First get the onions caramelising.  Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the two chopped onions.  Fry them very slowly over a low heat, stirring regularly, for 30 minutes until completely soft and lightly coloured.

In a large saucepan combine the lentils, bay leaves, whole onion, pureed tomatoes and 700ml cold water.  Bring to a boil and let simmer for 20 minutes or until the lentils are soft.

Fish out the onion and bay leaves, and add the molasses, mustard, paprika and ketchup.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

If you are eating this with hot dogs now is the time to add them to the stew, whole or chopped.

Put the lentils back on the heat for four to five minutes until the flavours are combined.  Check the seasoning.  Add more molasses, mustard or ketchup if you think it is needed.  Salt the onions.

Pile caramelised onions on top of each bowlful, and tuck in with a big spoon.


From → Mains, Recipes

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