[ We continue our ongoing series of culinary adventures adapted from Madame Ouestbrouq's French-language blog Laurier Vert, featuring low-cost and nutritionally balanced traditional French recipes as well as some rather experimental organic and vegetarian variations on the same. Feedback, suggestions and sharing your own results are warmly encouraged. ]
|Lentilles à l'Auvergnate|
Today we present a French classic, dubbed in Vegetarianese with no loss of flavor or comprehension, and facile à faire as well - this dish requires no special Chef-jutsu. The portions below are intended for two solid evening appetites with leftovers for tomorrow's lunch. N.B.: These are FRENCH portions, and the size of a standard portion in France does indeed contribute to the legendary French ability to frequently consume bread, cheese, sauces & etc. (not to mention the wine) while still retaining the frame and weight of your average whippet. While the legend is largely still true (although the wonders of fast food and catchpenny tongue-bling supermarket fare are doing their best to erode the French diet), the myth is not. Quel myth? Yeth. The myth that the French can consume all they want of the above substances without eventually making Monsieur Depardieu look ascetic by comparison.
Bref. The French cannot and do not eat all they want. Which means they can mostly eat what they want.
Digression concluded, on continue. We will need:
- 500g of green lentils (the original recipe calls for Lentilles vertes du Puy, if possible)
- 4 smoked tofu sausages
- a few nuggets of soy protein
- 1 carrot
- 1 large yellow onion
- 1 or 2 large garlic cloves
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1 sage leaf
- 1 small sprig of thyme
- 1 clove
- 1 tablespoon of oil (olive or sesame)
- Salt and pepper
And we proceed thusly:
- In a Dutch oven, if possible, or if not, in a large cast-iron pot, fry the chopped onion and garlic in oil.
- Separately; immerse the lentils in cold water, remove the ones that float to the surface, then rinse and drain.
- When the onion is lightly browned, add the lentils and carrot (cut into small pieces), and cover said ingredients with cold water. N.B.: The ratio of water to lentils should be 2 or 3 to 1 (enough water for the lentils to properly swell during cooking, but not so much that the lentils become waterlogged and lose flavor, alors the recette* may take some experimentation to get just right).
- When the water boils, reduce heat and add the herbs and spices.
- Simmer slowly (actually, the original says mijoter tranquillement, so simmer with tranquility). Cooking time may take between 25 and 45 minutes. Trust your taste more than your timer.
- 5 minutes before the end, add the sliced sausage and pieces of soy protein. Stir well so that the flavors become well mixed. Serve when ready.
Note: Lentils possess the excellent quality of improving when reheated. And slow cooking dramatically reduces the amount of digestive perturbations associated with lentils and other pulses. Alors, do not hesitate to create in quantity; you will have less cooking to do for the next few days.
...In all, a dish well adapted for winter or colder climes where Spring has not yet sprung. Madame also notes that she's undecided as to whether the soy protein is strictly necessary in the recette, so you may want to try with and without, according to taste and protein requirements.
* recette = recipe