Friday, January 6, 2012

Lentils with 'Shrooms and Caramelized Onions

Hey.  I'm back!!  We'll see how good I do, but I hope to add a few new recipes that I've discovered and I plan to make over and over.  I'll just tell you straight up that there probably won't be any pics for awhile.  But there will be new posts!

We were in Virginia for Christmas.  It was a wonderful week of other people cooking and a smorgasbord of desserts.  There is no question where I get my dessert love from....6 kinds of cookies (by the end of the week, we all had discovered our absolute favorite kind---and they were different for each of us), incredible cheesecake, cherry pie, chocolate cake balls, ice cream, and frozen strawberries, grown in my parents' garden.  When we got home, I decided we needed some healthier eating and this week, I've been looking for recipes to get me back on track.  I've called it my own "cleanse" but those who do real cleanses would be affronted by this title.  We've been eating not a lot of meat, lots of lentils and vegetables, and limited starches.

This was our second lentil dish in a week.  I was worried it would be too similar to the mujadarra I made earlier in the week, but it was different enough that no one really minded lentils twice in one week.

The porcini mushrooms are optional, but well worth it if you can find it and/or afford them.

This was part of a really simple supper.  Just this plus some peas.  I omitted a carb entirely and no one really missed it.

This will serve 3 - 4 as a main course.  If you serve it with rice, it should serve 4 comfortably.

Lentils with Mushrooms and Caramelized Onions
adapted just a tad from The Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman

1 c uncooked French or green lentils (this can be done ahead of time)
1/2 c (about .5 oz) dried porcini mushrooms (optional)
2 T olive oil
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
1 T fresh thyme or 1 t dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste.

Make the lentils by putting the lentils in a medium pot.  Cover with 3 inches of water and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the lentils are tender, but not mushy.  Reserve 1/2 c cooking water, then drain, and set lentils aside. (You can make the lentils hours ahead and just refrigerate until you are ready for them).

Put the porcini in a small bowl.  Cover with boiling water and let soak for 20 minutes.  When the porcini are soft, reserve 1/2 c of the soaking water, and then drain.  Meanwhile, start caramelizing the onions.  Put 2 T oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  When the oil is hot, add the onions, and cook until the onions are dark brown, but not burnt, about 15 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  Remove the onions from the pan and put into a small serving bowl.  In the same pan, heat the remaining 2 T oil.  Add all the mushrooms (dried and fresh).  Cover the skillet, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the mushrooms undisturbed for 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms have released their juice.  Remove the cover, increase the heat to medium, and continue to cook until some of the sauce evaporates and the mushrooms are very soft, 5 - 10 minutes.

Stir in the lentils, 1/4 c of the reserved porcini water (or lentil water if you didn't use porcinis), and thyme.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.  Cook over medium heat until everything is heated through.  Serve garnished with the caramelized onions.

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