Thursday, February 07, 2008

A Dish to Die For

You know I have a passion for lentils. I think it was the lentil recipes in the Washington Post yesterday and the article on how several of Washington’s famous chefs cook at home (today) that inspired my hurry-up dinner.

I loved reading about the chefs, especially Cristeta Comerford, who is the White House executive chef. She said that when she cooks at home, it’s always something really quick, like 15 minutes. “That’s what’s good about being a professional chef. You have to learn to be very versatile with what you have.”

So at 6:15 tonight, knowing that I had to be walking out the door to choir rehearsal at 7:00, I decided to make a variation of the Warm Lentil-Potato Salad with Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette that I had read about yesterday. Here is the resulting recipe, showing the ingredients with only approximations of quantity where I have an idea:

1 strip of lower-fat bacon, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup of red lentils
Broccoli cut into small florets
Chicken broth
3 small Yukon gold potatoes, cut into eighths
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Borsari salt
Szechuan pepper, freshly ground (the peppercorns resemble cloves!)
Chives (dried)
Basil (dried)
French thyme (dried)
Bite-size pieces of rotisserie chicken
Dijon mustard
Lemon juice
White wine vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil

Cover the potatoes with salted water and bring to a boil; then reduce to a simmer. In the bottom of an anodized pan that has a lid, saute the bacon until the fat is released. Add the lentils and stir to coat them. Cover with chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add the broccoli on top of the lentil mixture. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Saute the garlic in a small amount of olive oil until golden brown. (There was not enough time to roast the garlic.) Add to the lentil mixture along with the herbs and chicken. Add chicken broth as necessary to keep the lentils from getting completely dry. In a mixing bowl, combine the mustard, lemon juice, vinegar, and olive oil with a wire whisk. Drain the potatoes and add them to the vinaigrette, mixing to coat the potatoes. Add the lentil mixture and serve.

This was one of those taste experiences when I sincerely wished I had measured and kept track because it was perfect – at least perfectly delicious. And with a glass of wine, it was a complete meal, ready to eat in just 30 minutes. There might even be enough left for lunch tomorrow. I’ve got dibs on those leftovers!


Blogger Richard said...

Sofia is very partial to lentils and she does prepare them in a very nice way.

Might have to try this recipe.

3:02 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Richard -- You might want to stick with the tried-and-true WaPo recipe since mine is lacking in quantity detail. But then, you are an adventurer in the kitchen as I recall, so go ahead, play with my version and for sure, use even more lentils!

5:57 PM  
Blogger kimy said...

yum!! tomorrow's sunday dinner is roasted chicken and this sounds like the perfect dish to accompany the chicken. thanks!

12:08 AM  
Blogger kimy said...

p.s. modified of course because it will be a side dish....I am know to always play with recipes and use them mainly as guides and 'inspiration'

12:10 AM  

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