Source: Women's Day Encyclopaedia of Cooking (A Garage Sale treasury of culinary excess)
This, according to the WDEC is the closest you will get to the mess of pottage for which Esau sold his birthright. It goes naturally with a rough salad and sharpish dressing, and never before have I seen teenagers consume so many greens willingly. A hearty meal.
You will need
- 1.5 cups Red or Brown Lentils: (I experimented last time with chana dal, as its extremely low glycaemic index minimises the glucose - insulin spike that can occur with many complex carbohydrates. I found it a touch on the bland side after lentils, so wound up adding a round tablespoon of pea flour towards the end, which solved the problem nicely. Alternatively, use 1 cup of chana and 1/2 cup of yellow or green split peas)
- Hot Water to cover, plus a couple of centimetres
- 4 cups Cold Water
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 2 cups Chopped Onion
- 2-3 cloves Garlic, chopped
- 1/4 cup Olive Oli
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 3/4 cup White or Brown Rice (It's a good idea to combine white rice and red lentils, and brown rice and brown lentils to more closely approximate cooking times.)
- 25g butter
- Set the lentils to soak a few hours before hand. (Yes, I know that modern varieties of lentils don't need soaking and you can probably get away without, but that's what it said in the WDEC.)
- About an hour and a quarter before serving the meal, drain the lentils. Place in a large heavy pot with 4 cups cold water and a teaspoon of salt. (Normally I leave adding salt to the end of a recipe, as the salt tends to make meat and pulses tougher, but in this case it seems OK.)
- Bring to the boil, covered, over medium heat, turn to low heat and allow to simmer.
- Coarsely chop 2 cupfuls of onion (and the garlic), and set to cook in a small saucepan with the olive oil, over a low to medium heat. Cook until the onions are translucent and slightly gold.
- While the onions are cooking, melt the butter in a frying pan and add the rice. It will initially become translucent. Keep cooking and stirring it until it once more begins to become white/opaque.
- Add the onions and the rice to the lentils and stir to combine. (I used a rubber spatula to ensure all the olive oil and butter made it into the lentils.) Add 1 - 2 cups hot water, (add beef stock if there aren't any vegetarians around), remove lid and simmer over a low heat. Stir frequently to ensure it does not stick to the bottom. You will wind up with a kind of savoury porridge.
- Prepare the salad. This is a full complement to the rice and lentil mix. It is crisp where the lentils are soft. It is cool where the lentils are hot. It is sharp and vigorous where the lentils are soft and nutty. I used a crisp lettuce base, with salad burnet, cucumber, parsley, basil, chives, spring onion, raw onion, tomato, a little spinach, a green pepper. The dressing is strongly flavoured, and the salad must be able to hold its own.
- Prepare the salad dressing. You can use the Dynamite Bean Salad Dressing, or the one supplied by Women's Day
- WDEC also recommends black olives and fetta cheese or similar to accompany the salad.
- This recipe made a generous meal for four of us, of which very little was left over. I have not seen the boys demolish salad or greens in such quantity for ages, but it seemed absolutely natural to follow a mouthful of lentils with a contrasting mouthful of salad. We also buttered slices of mixed grain Vogel's bread and ate them as well.
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