I realize it has been a while since I’ve posted anything in the lentilblogosphere and to anyone reading this, but also to myself, I apologize. After changing the protocol for this project multiple times, I removed the sense of urgency which, while helping to alleviate stress and maintain peace of mind, has induced sloth and laziness. I need some sort of goal/deadline to maintain a dust-free keyboard. So new goal: two recipes a week. If I do more, good for me. But atleast two recipes a week. Hooray.
So now to the fun. Let me explain wentils: A couple weeks ago, Lindsey, Katie and I were driving around looking for somewhere to get some grub. We ended up at tidbit cafe in Roanoke, but in my hungerpains, I bemoaned how we should head to my place for LENTILS! This digressed to wine and lentils, which was shortened to wentils (and later combined as coffee-wine-lentils to KWENTILS! or cheese-wine-lentils to CHWENTILS!) Although Katie and Lindsey tired of my continual barbaric lentil cries praising our favorite pulse, the idea of wine and lentils forming some sort of creation stuck with me, so when I got home I put a cup of red lentils in a bowl with enough cabernet sauvignon to cover. A little plastic wrap on top, the bowl sat on the counter forgotten for several days.
Leave it to necessity to be the muse of creation. Katie was over last week and we decided to cook dinner. Crepes, perhaps? Sounds great! What’s in the fridge? Eggs? No. Milk? No. Well, shit. Missing most of the essentials behind crepes. In fact, it seems that I only have cheese, squash and….what’s this? WENTILS! Why not make wentil crepes and stuff them with squash? So that’s what I did and sure enough, they were quite tasty. I ran out of squash before the lentils crepes were done, so I put cheese in the last few. After making them, I realized that had I combined the two, it would have been awesome. So here it is:
CHWENTIL SQUASH CREPES!
1 cup red lentils
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup AP flour
1 medium-sized winter squash (butternut, acorn, etc.), peeled and chopped
6oz. chedder cheese, sliced
Shredded Parmesan cheese (I used raw goat with lavender and fennel, but that’s just because I had that around)
Soak the lentils for at least 3 hours in the wine, then add to a blender with 2oz. melted butter and pulse to blend. Add the flour, quarter cup at a time, and blend until smooth. (Disclaimer: It has been a while and some of these measurements were not exact, but feel free to play with this. It should be a little more watery than pancake batter; if it is too watery, add a little flour, too thick, a little wine or water.) Roast the squash at 425F for 25 minutes. Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Add a pad of butter and swirl to coat. When the butter is nice and hot, add half a cup of batter to the pan and smooth out to a thin layer. Important: wait four or five minutes for lentil crepe to cook, then lift lightly from the edge into the center, waiting if the crepe begins to crack. The lentil crepes, like the pancakes from before, take longer than you might think, but once you can get a large spatula under the crepe, it is good to flip. Cook the opposite side for 4-5 minutes then add squash pieces and chedder cheese, fold to close and shred paremesan on top. (I like to put them on a plate in the oven at ~250F while I cook the others to keep them warm and help melt the cheese.)
Mmmmm chwentil crepes. The crepes themselves obviously have a very strong wine flavor, but when mixed with the squash and cheeses, pairs nicely.
Now to the second item on the post’s menu: Butternut squash and mushroom lentil “risotto”. Yesterday, I figured it was about time for another lentil dish and with the approach of winter, I thought I would go for something earthy and savory. After cooking lots of lentils, I’ve learned a thing or two and I’ve found that when regular old green lentils are cooked just beyond the point of traditional doneness, one can breakdown the lentils to an almost risotto-like consistency. That was the goal of this recipe: to take traditional risotto additions, like butternut squash and mushrooms and add them to lentils cooked as a risotto. And it turned out pretty well. Here it is:
Butternut Squash and Mushroom Lentil “Risotto”
3 cups green lentils, rinsed
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
4-6oz mushrooms (I used brown button, but feel free to experiment), sliced
1/2 onion, minced
48oz. chicken stock
Peel and cube the butternut squash and bake in a 425F oven for 20 min. In a large pot, melt butter and then saute the onion for around five minutes, until lightly browned. Add mushrooms and sweat for five minutes. Add butternut squash, lentils and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook covered for 30 min, stirring occasionally. Remove lid and reduce to a risotto-like consistency while stirring regularly. Salt to taste.
This dish is great on a cold winter evening and turned out to be a great twist on the traditional arborio rice version. I prefer to have larger cubes of butternut squash and slices of mushrooms since they tend to have a more playful mouthfeel when you get some on the spoon.
So here’s two more recipes and better yet, I made them up from scratch! Yeah! Back to the grindstone, and I’ll be back next week with two more.