recipes that are simple and delicious.
It was not too long ago where a small group of us went out to dinner in Milwaukee, at a great restaurant called Odd Duck. It was our first time eating there, and we were impressed from the first step into their door. This restaurant is known for small plates, tapa style, to be shared with the table. I enjoy the concept because it allows everyone to sample a lot of dishes, something that would normally not occur at your standard restaurant. So based on their suggestions, we ordered about ten dishes among the four of us. The first dish, and I will not get into details on the other dishes as you can read those on my Yelp review, was a curried lentil served with a compote and flat bread. They were great, and so great that I decided to make my version the following week.
Let’s get started.
Start by picking through your lentils. Some times, but not all, you will find little stones or other artifacts. Remove those. Then strain the lentils.
Next, add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic to a food processor. If you do not have one, simply chop all of those ingredients very finely. Pulse until they are finely chopped.
Get a large pot onto the stove on medium, to medium high heat. Add the olive oil, warming it through.
Scrape all of the vegetable mixture out and into the pot. Cook for about 5 minutes, sweating all of the vegetables.
After five minutes, add the curry powder, salt, and pepper, and give this a good stir. I’m a big fan of cooking the seasoning for a few minutes.
After a few minutes, add the strained lentils to the pot, and give them a good stir. Add in the lemon juice. Cook for a few more minutes, then add your stock or water. Your goal is to add enough water to cover the lentils by a half inch or so. As the lentils cook, they will absorb the stock or water, so keep an eye on it as they cook, and add more stock if necessary. You are not making a soup, nor do you want them to completely absorb all of the liquid.
Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, covering, and let simmer for about 1 hour, taking a peak 30 minutes into the cooking to adjust any liquid.
After an hour, taste the lentils and make sure they are nice and tender and that your liquid ratio is going well. If they are still a bit hard, cook longer. I like the lentils to be al dente, not mushy.
When you are ready to serve, you can either serve family style, or into smaller bowls. Garnish with fresh cilantro.
The end result is pure flavor. The warmth of the curry along with the mirepoix lends itself to a healthy, and nutritious side dish, or meal for that matter. Hope you enjoy.