Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Simple Supper: Lentils, Wilted Spinach and Rice

I love eating this meal because it makes me feel virtuous, yet satisfied.  Lentils are undeniably healthy as well as eco-friendly and they taste delicious.  They are also simple and quick to prepare.

I generally serve these lentils as they are, over rice. Sometimes, I might add a bit of bacon, sauted with the onions at the beginning. They also taste wonderful as a side dish accompanying sausages, duck or lamb.  If you add more water, then it becomes a satisfying soup.

My secret ingredient in this dish is to add a piece of parmesan rind. I always save the hard end bits of the parmesan in a bag in the refrigerator.  Then I throw them into stews and soups.  It adds a subtle unami flavor to the broth.

Finally, don't forget to serve it with lemon wedges and let everyone season their own dish.  The lemon really brightens up the earthy flavor.

Lentils and Spinach:
1 cup small green lentils
4 to 5 cups water
2 carrots
2 onions
2 stalks celery
a few cloves garlic
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
small bunch of your choice herbs
2 bay leaves
a bit of parmesan cheese rind
about 150 grams fresh baby spinach
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil for frying
lemon and parmesan to garnish

1 cup white rice
2 cups water

Prepare your vegetables.  Peel and dice the onions and garlic.  Peel and chop the carrots
into small pea-sized pieces.  Chop the celery.

Heat a large pot on medium and put in a tablespoon or two of oil. Add the onions, carrots and celery.  Saute for 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until the onions are transclucent and starting to color.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Add the lentils, herbs, bouillon cubes, bay leaves, and parmesan rind. Add 4 cups of water.  Stir until the bouillon cubes are dissolved. Bring the water to a boil, put on the lid and let simmer for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender but still retain a bit of bite. Taste and adjust for seasoning.  At this stage, you can pull out the bay leaves and the chunk of parmesan rind. Pour in the spinach leaves and put the lid on again.  Wait a minute or two and then stir the spinach into the lentils.  The heat of the lentils will wilt the spinach.

Meanwhile, put the rice and the water in a pot on the stove.  Turn the heat up and bring the water to a boil with the lid on. Immediately turn the stove down to the lowest possible heat, keeping the lid on.  Cook for 20 minutes or until the rice is done.

Serve the lentils on top of the rice.  Garnish with a dusting of parmesan and lemon wedges on the side.

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