Tag: Beluga lentils

Beluga Lentils with Ginger Orange Rutabaga and Rosemary

Beluga Lentils with Ginger Orange Rutabaga and Rosemary

I once read that the 3rd Monday of January is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year – Blue Monday. I don’t know if it’s true, luckily it has already passed, and I didn’t notice my mood drooping drastically that day. However, I’ve felt a rising impatience for more light and warmer weather to come back into my life. So much so that I had to book flights to Malta last night. This always makes me feel so much better, no matter how far in the future the departure date lies, just the thought of it puts me in a good mood.

Another way to lift my spirits is food. Cosy food, colourful food, or simply delicious food. This dish combines all of it: nutty Beluga lentils, topped with thin slices of rutabaga, quickly cooked in the pan with lots of ginger, orange zest and juice, and fresh rosemary. The rustic root is as bright as the sunrise over Malta’s east coast and its earthy flavour can easily deal with some strong aromas. I was surprised how well it merged with the dark legumes.

Beluga Lentils with Ginger Orange Rutabaga and Rosemary

 

Beluga Lentils with Ginger Orange Rutabaga and Rosemary

Beluga Lentils with Ginger Orange Rutabaga and Rosemary

Serves 3-4

For the lentils

Beluga 
lentils, or any lentils (no soaking required), 280 g / 10 ounces
small sprig fresh rosemary 1
bay leaf 1
olive oil
balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon
fine sea salt
ground pepper

For the rutabaga

peeled rutabaga, cut into wedges and very thinly sliced (use a mandoline or cheese slicer), 300g / 10 1/2 ounces
freshly grated ginger 1 tablespoon
freshly grated zest of 1 orange
freshly squeezed orange juice 100ml / 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons
fine sea salt
ground pepper
finely chopped fresh rosemary needles 1-2 tablespoons
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar

Place the lentils in a saucepan with plenty of (unsalted) water, add the rosemary and bay leaf, and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until al dente (or follow the package instructions). Remove excess liquid with a ladle if necessary and stir in a generous splash of olive oil and the vinegar. Season to taste with salt, pepper and vinegar.

While the lentils are cooking, prepare the rutabaga: In a large, heavy pan, heat a generous splash of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the rutabaga and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden and al dente. Scrape the rutabaga to the side, add a little more olive oil to the pan along with the ginger, cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the orange zest (leave a little of the zest for the topping) and juice and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the rosemary or use as a topping once the plates are ready. Cook for another 1-2 minutes until the desired texture is reached.

Divide the lentils between plates and lay the rutabaga on top. Sprinkle with rosemary, orange zest, and crushed peppercorns and drizzle with a little olive oil (optional). Serve immediately.

Beluga Lentils with Ginger Orange Rutabaga and Rosemary

 

Beluga Lentils with Ginger Orange Rutabaga and Rosemary

 

Beluga Lentils with Ginger Orange Rutabaga and Rosemary

 

lentilsgingerorangerutabarga11

Cardamom Lentil Burgers, Dill Sour Cream and Preserved Lemon Sandwich

Lentil Burger

I finally made my first preserved lemons of 2015, one of my new annual pantry traditions. Until last year, I focused on jams and chutneys in my kitchen, but then I remembered my grandmother’s passion for preserving, her huge cellar packed with shelves up to the ceiling. I can still picture the long lined jars of preserved fruits, all those cherries, plums, pears and apples kept in colourful juices, the crop always came straight from her own or her children’s garden. I used to love this room in her old house with the cherry tree in the garden, this was true kitchen magic for my young eyes.

In late summer, my family used to have so many fruits that preserving was the only way to prevent waste. Living in the city doesn’t really confront me with this problem, we eat the fruit and vegetables as soon as I buy them or not long after. So unfortunately, there are no baskets full of ripe late summer harvests waiting for me on the kitchen top, but I discovered a couple recipes that are equally satisfying, in preparation and consumption: lemons and artichokes!

This year’s preserved lemons are already as tasty as the last batch. I prepared them about 6 weeks ago and they still need a couple months to turn into perfectly tender bites, but I’m impatient and today’s recipe asked for their salty sourness. I made meatless burgers with black Beluga and red lentils. The dark lentils stayed crunchy after I cooked them and the red legumes were quite soft, the perfect burger mixture. I refined them with cardamon, parmesan and red onions, squeezed them in a bun and topped the little beauties with a refreshing dill dip and my fruity lemons – a proper spring burger!

Lentil Burger

 

Lentil Burger

Cardamom Lentil Burgers, Dill Sour Cream and Preserved Lemon Sandwich

I made 15 lentil patties, for the 2 sandwiches you will only need 4.

For 2 sandwiches you need

rustic white buns, cut in half, 2
rucola, a small handful
preserved lemon, very thinly sliced, 1/4
(alternatively, you could use the roasted lemon peel from this recipe)

For the patties

black Beluga lentils 125g / 4 1/2 ounces
red lentils 125g / 4 1/2 ounces
small bay leaves 2
medium sized red onion, finely chopped, 1
garlic, crushed, 1 clove
organic eggs 2
parmesan, grated, 100g / 3 1/2 ounces
breadcrumbs 70g / 2 1/2 ounces
cardamom 1 teaspoon
salt 1 1/4 teaspoons
pepper
olive oil, for frying

For the dill sour cream

sour cream 200g / 7 ounces
fresh dill, chopped, 4 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon for the topping
olive oil 2 teaspoons
heavy cream 1 tablespoon
a pinch of cardamom
a pinch of sugar
salt and pepper

Cook the red and black lentils separately, according to the instructions on the package, each with 1 bay leaf but without salt. My Beluga needed 20 minutes in 325ml / 11 ounces of water (they should be al dente), the red lentils took 10 minutes in 325ml / 11 ounces of water to be done (they should be soft and mushy). Drain both well once they are cooked and let them cool for about 10 minutes (I cooked mine a few hours before I made the patties).

Set the oven to 200°C / 390°F (fan-assisted oven) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, gently mix the lentils and the ingredients for the patties with a wooden spoon until well combined. Wet your hands and form 70g / 2 1/2 ounces patties. Heat a generous splash of olive oil in a heavy pan and fry the lentil patties for 2-3 minutes on medium on both sides until golden brown. You will have to fry them in batches. Transfer the patties onto the baking sheet and cook in the oven for 9 minutes.

Whip the ingredients for the dill sour cream until creamy and season to taste.

Spread a little rucola on each bottom side of the buns, lay 2 patties on top and drizzle some dill sour cream over the lentil burgers. Sprinkle with slices of preserved lemon and fresh dill. Enjoy!

Lentil Burger

 

Lentil Burger

 

Lentil Burger

Lentils with Pomegranate and Dukkah

Lentils, Pomegranate and a spicy Nut Dukkah

This dish caused one of those exciting kitchen moments that leave you speechless. I had a rough idea of what I wanted to throw together but when it was finally on my plate, it blew my mind. I have wanted to mix black Beluga lentils with the glowing red of pomegranate seeds for quite a while as I couldn’t resist this colour combination. I felt sure that something that looks so beautiful together must also match on a culinary level!

A couple weeks ago I read about dukkah which reminded me of this great mixture of seeds, nuts and spices so popular in Egyptian cooking. So I decided to add this as well. I prepared a selection of hazelnuts, pistachios, sesame and sunflower seeds and took some black peppercorns, coriander and fennel seeds and cumin from my spice box to make the mixture complete. The lentils cooked with a bunch of fresh thyme and a bay leaf before I stirred in a splash of olive oil. I arranged the legumes on the plates with the crunchy pomegranate seeds and my dukkah and was mesmerized by its beauty and simplicity. The first bite made me speechless, it was fantastic! The nuttiness of the lentils combined with the dukkah and the sweet and sour pomegranate is one of the best things my dark Belugas have ever seen (apart from my Lentil Salad with Blue Cheese and Pear).

Lentils, Pomegranate and a spicy Nut Dukkah

 

Lentils, Pomegranate and a spicy Nut Dukkah

Lentils, Pomegranate and a spicy Nut Dukkah

You can keep the remaining dukkah in a jar and use it for salads and soups.

For 3-4 people you need

lentils (preferably Beluga) 250g / 9 ounces
bay leaf 1
fresh thyme, a small bunch
olive oil
pomegranate 1

For the dukkah
hazelnuts 30g / 1 ounce
sunflower seeds 20g / 3/4 ounce
pistachios 20g / 3/4 ounce
sesame seeds 20g / 3/4 ounce
fennel seeds, crushed in a mortar, 1 teaspoon
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar, 1/2 teaspoon
coriander seeds, crushed in a mortar, 1 teaspoon
ground cumin 1/4 teaspoon
coarse sea salt 1/2 teaspoon

Mix the ingredients for the dukkah in a food processor.

Peel the seeds out of the pomegranate.

Cook the lentils according to the instructions on the package with the bay leaf and thyme but without salt. Mine needed 20 minutes in 750ml / 1.5 pints of water. Stir in a splash of olive oil and season with a little salt. 

Arrange the lentils on the plates sprinkled with pomegranate seeds and a tablespoon of dukkah.

Lentils, Pomegranate and a spicy Nut Dukkah

 

Lentils, Pomegranate and a spicy Nut Dukkah

 

Lentils, Pomegranate and a spicy Nut Dukkah

 

Lentils, Pomegranate and a spicy Nut Dukkah

 

Lentils, Pomegranate and a spicy Nut Dukkah

Beluga Lentil Salad with Pear, Blue Cheese and Thyme

Beluga Lentils with Pear and Blue Cheese

When I went through the shelves of my pantry to bring some order to the boxes and bags filled with all kinds of dried lentils, beans and seeds, an open bag of Beluga lentils fell into my hands. I could have chosen Swabian Heirloom lentils, or the red, yellow or green legumes, but this time my eyes got stuck on these pearly black beauties.

The black seeds inspired me to make a salad that looks like it came right out of a Renaissance painting, dark, dramatic and a bit mystic (although it’s just food, it has its own aura). Beluga lentils don’t need much preparation, no soaking in water and they’re done in just 20 minutes. I cooked them with a bay leaf and a handful of lemon thyme sprigs and stirred in a little bit of olive oil after they soaked up all the cooking liquid. For my salad, I cut a firm pear very thinly with a cheese slicer and arranged the sweet slices on top of the warm lentils with small lumps of Fourme d’Ambert. You could also use a ripe Stilton or a soft Gorgonzola if you prefer a more subtle blue cheese flavour.

I like it when the white cheese melts into the warm dark lentils but you can also serve it as a cold salad.

Beluga Lentils with Pear and Blue Cheese

Beluga Lentil Salad with Pear, Blue Cheese and Thyme 

For 4 people you need

Beluga lentils, rinsed, 220g / 8 ounces
bay leaf 1
fresh sprigs of thyme, a small handful (if the sprigs are woody just use the leaves)
olive oil
blue cheese, broken into lumps, 120g / 4.5 ounces
ripe but firm pear, cut in half, cored and sliced with a cheese or vegetable slicer, 1
salt and pepper

Cook the lentils according to the instructions on the package with the bay leaf and thyme but without salt. Mine needed 2o minutes in 750ml / 1.5 pints of water. If the lentils don’t soak up all the liquid, drain them but keep the cooking liquid and the sprigs of thyme. Stir a splash of olive oil into the lentils and season with salt and pepper to taste. Now, you can add a little of the cooking liquid if the salad is too dry.

Put the lentils into a large bowl with some of the thyme sprigs and arrange the pear and cheese on top. Serve warm or cold.

Beluga Lentils with Pear and Blue Cheese

 

Beluga Lentils with Pear and Blue Cheese

 

Beluga Lentils with Pear and Blue Cheese

 

Beluga Lentils with Pear and Blue Cheese

A Salad with Beluga Lentils and Beetroot

Beluga Lentils + Beetroot Salad

I went a bit overboard on the weekend, two pies (sweet and savory) in two days, time for a change in my kitchen! Something lighter (that doesn’t involve butter) is on my mind, a salad with black Beluga lentils and fried beetroot slices. Beluga lentils are perfect for salads. They are tiny little legumes, with a strong and nutty taste and they just have to cook for 30 minutes without having to soak in water. The beetroot becomes a bit sweet when you fry the raw slices, even sweeter than when boiled in water. When it comes to salads, I prefer fewer ingredients with strong flavours and quick preparation. I’m not too fond of salads which mix up lots of different vegetables and fruit as the single tastes tend to get blurred.

Today’s salad is a dark beauty, the lentils are dark grey, nearly black with shades of blue and green and the beetroot slices deepen to a dark red when you fry them. All you need for a salad for 4  is 1 cup / 200g of Beluga lentils, rinsed and cooked in 3 cups of water (without salt!) for 20-30 minutes. While they are simmering, I slice 2 large uncooked beetroots with a slicer very thinly. I heat some oil in a large pan, sprinkle the beetroot slices with a pinch of sugar and fry them in batches for a few seconds on each side before I season them with salt and pepper. They burn quickly which gives them a bitter taste so you have to watch them.

My dressing is very simple and light, 3 generous tablespoons of olive oil mixed with 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of white Balsamico vinegar, seasoned with salt and black pepper. When the lentils are done I rinse them with cold water, drain them and pour the dressing on top. You may have to add more salt and pepper at this point to taste. I lay the beetroot slices on top and the salad is ready to be served!

Beluga Lentils + Beetroot Salad

 

Beluga Lentils + Beetroot Salad