Monday, March 15, 2010

Lentils and more lentils

   In winter weather, your--or anyway my--body needs carbs. Steamed potatoes mashed with lashings of butter and crème fraîche. Pasta with pesto. Haricots blancs cooked with loads of garlic and tossed with plenty of finely chopped parsley. (Scissored parsley, to be honest. I strip the leaves into a coffee mug and snip away.)
   Recently, during this unseasonably chilly weather, we've been gorging on lentils, making a dark, earthy bed of them for a coil of grilled saucisses with red or green cabbage on the side. We also like them with pan-fried salmon. Hot olive oil in a non-stick pan, salmon in skin-side down, lid on, leave for eight minutes--and that's it
   So, lentils. Rather than faffing around with small quantities, I generally empty the entire 500 gram packet into the pan which means leftovers to reheat a day or so later, and soup the day after that. For the master batch, I simmer the lentils for 20 minutes, then add cubed carrot, potato and onion, minced garlic and whatever herbs are around--bay leaf and thyme usually--and simmer for 15 or 20 minutes more. 
   All you do to make soup is water down the leftovers (or you could use chicken or vegetable stock if you happen to have any festering in the fridge) and blitz with a hand-held blender. 
I'll be honest. Beautiful, it isn't but, as you can see, lentil soup looks very pretty once you tart it up with lardons, croutons and parsley.

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