Lentils may be one of the most frugal foods on the planet. We've been eating them for a long time. The lentil has been part of our diet since Bible Times. But I betcha that my lentils are even tastier than the ones Esau sold his birthright for in the book of Genesis.
Actually, this recipe for Lentils is my momma's. If I am the princess of the frugal food she is the Queen.
So lentils are probably not as exciting as let's say....cheesy fries from Steak and Shake. But in this season of my life (poor and losing weight) I have found that sometimes just the right preparation can make all the difference.
You might want to grab a pen and paper and take a few notes. I didn't write out my recipe, but have included the steps with my pictures. I know! I make things waaayy too hard!
Here we go!
The type of lentil doesn't matter to me. I get cheap. And for this recipe we are making 2 lbs so that there will be plenty of leftovers for lunches later in the week.
First off. You have to look at this. This is my mother's spice cabinet. It is a cooking girl's dream. And she just recently cleaned it out. She had a few spices that had been around since before my first pair of parachute pants.
On this day we chose cumin, curry, coarse ground pepper, dried chamomile,bay leaves, celery seed and smoked paprika. And some chicken broth seasoning. Probably about 1 tsp. of everything. I didn't measure. You don't have to use all of these. But I wouldn't miss out on the cumin, paprika and curry. They make the dish.
Just a little aside: While I was cooking my mom made me one of her famous smoothies. A little Greek yogurt and frozen berries from my dad's orchard. And some flax meal.
The glass if fancy! She bought it from a silent auction at work. You could practically take a bath in the thing!
Back to the lentils. Chop up garlic and onions. As much as you like. I think I used 1 large onion and 2 large cloves of garlic.
Now this is where the magic happens. This is different from most every lentil recipe you will ever find. You mix the lentils and dry herbs and spices and toast them in a large pot. In a little olive oil. I am going to start soaking my lentils (to help with some of that phytic acid), I will just need to let them dry out a little.
Add the onions and garlic and cook them up a little too. Notice how the lentils look nice and toasty? They smell heavenly. Just a little warning. Don't step out to put a load of laundry in. You need to constantly stir...otherwise you are going to wind up with burnt bits and pieces.
After they are toasted to your satisfaction, add a can of tomatoes, a couple of bay leaves and water enough to cover the lentils by a few inches.
Let them simmer on the stove for 20-30 minutes or until they are tender.
And that's it! You now have a pot of wonderfully fragrant, delicious and cheap lentils! Just add a little more salt if needed. The chicken broth seasoning I use is plenty salty. This pot didn't need anything extra.
On this night the lentils were served with some rice and a dab of Greek yogurt.
I am linking this recipe up to The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew's Recipe Share Blog Cruise. It's going live 2/26/2013!