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Lentil-y goodness

August 28, 2010

If you’re not a fan of lentils, can I at least lure you in with a cheesy crumb topping?

Closer…

…Yeeeeeaaaaahhhhh. If it almost looks meaty at first glance, that’s because it is! The thyme and rosemary = rich, satisfying win. So what exactly is this? Basically it’s a dark, thick lentil and vegetable stew layered between roasted potato slices. Baking means the roasted potato slices thicken up the stew even more so that there’s not watery funk going on at all, and everything is densely wintery. I baked it in two separate, rather generous ramekins, but feel free to do it in a casserole dish (with lid off) or something. Or if you’ve seen a chance to make this vegan, any serving dish will do, or you can even layer it straight onto a plate or into a bowl (best to warm plates up in an 80C (175F) oven). This is quite filling, so keep serving sizes in mind if you want dessert. Also, if you like mushrooms, adding them in with the onions would make this even nicer. If baking for a potluck, layer thin and wide and this will mean it doesn’t take long to reheat in the oven.

Consider it your last kiss to hearty winter stews for the year though, because spring is on its way. In all it’s asapargus-laden, fuzzy-duckling glory.

Layered lentil stew bake

serves 2, generously

  • 4-5 medium potatoes, sliced 3-4mm thick
  • cooking oil
  • salt and pepper
  • about 3/4c brown or green/French/Puy lentils
  • 1 large onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • about 1 Tbs chopped fresh rosemary
  • about 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves*
  • about 1 1/2c vege or chicken stock
  • 1 carrot, chopped into batons
  • about 40g butter (or replace with equivalent amount of oil to veganise)
  • splash cooking oil
  • grated cheese and breadcrumbs to top
  • optional: chopped fresh flat parsley

* you can include stalks as long as they are not brown and woody

Preheat oven to 200C (400F), coat a large roasting dish with oil.

Meanwhile, heat second load of oil and butter on medium heat in a medium sized saucepan. Add onions, garlic and carrots, and cook on an even layer until onion starts to go golden.

Add roasting dish to oven (bottom rack) for five minutes to heat up the oil.

Add lentils, herbs and stock to onions, garlic and carrots. Bring stock to a simmer and reduce heat to medium low.

Take roasting dish out of the oven, add potato slices and toss to coat completely in oil and arrange in an even-ish layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, immediately return to oven and let cook about 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted at the thickest point slides in easily.

Let lentils cook uncovered, adding a little water if the mixture gets any dried than porridge. Do not add water in the last 10 minutes of cooking. Lentils will take at least 20 minutes to cook. Stir occasionally. Check at the twenty minute mark for done-ness. I like mine with a little bite, but if you want yours softer, keep simmering in five minute intervals until done to your liking.

Remove potato slices once done. In a casserole dish or ramekins, spread a thin layer of lentil stew, then cover with slightly overlapping potato slices. Repeat, ending with potato slices. Top with grated cheese and breadcrumbs. Place back in the oven for twenty minutes or until cheese is golden in splotches. Let cool about five minutes, then top with parsley and serve.

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