Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Lentils, Joys of

Did you know that millions of people around the world get their daily protein from lentils? This is true mostly in India, but lentils are grown and eaten in a wide swath, beginning in the Mediterranean and moving eastward. To get all the needed amino acids for a complete protein, they must be eaten with a grain. In Greece, that is typically pasta or sometimes rice. Here is my own slight twist on Rosemary Barron's recipe. This is a great dish for a winter day. (Note: all the ingredients used are organic, when available.)

LENTIL PILAFI

2 cu. medium gr. calrose rice (I use Massa Organic California Calrose)
1 cu French green lentils, cleaned and rinsed (see Lentils, Hazards of)
1 med. red onion--sliced
1 carrot, shaved with a peeler into strips and chopped
1 tb. good Cretan olive oil
4 cu. broth, chicken or veggie
2 tb. ground coriander
1 ts. ground allspice
3 bay leaves
pinch of Greek dried oregano (rigani)
1/2 cu. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Heat the oil, bay leaves, and ground spices, in an 8 qt. soup pot or dutch oven.
Add the onions and carrots and saute until soft.
Throw in the rice and stir for a few minutes, till it whitens a bit
Add broth and lentils, then stir once.
Bring to a medium boil and stay close by. When holes form and the water is almost gone, take off the heat, put on a tight lid and leave on the back of the stove for half an hour.
Remove bay leaves, and add oregano and parsley.

Serve with salt, pepper, lemon juice, olive oil, and plain Greek yogurt.
Makes a nice meal followed by a salad and fruit. On special occasions I have served it with roast chicken or lamb.

Rosemary Barron: http://www.rosemarybarron.com/RosemaryBarron/RosemaryBarron.htm
Massa Organics: http://www.massaorganics.com/index.html

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