So, you can call me weird or whatever, but I seriously dig lentils. Don’t give me that look, that “but Fat Girl, lentils are healthy” look. I established a long time ago that this blog was about great food, whether it happened to be healthy or terribly not-healthy. Contrary to popular belief, sometimes it is truly difficult to Fat-Girl-itize a healthy, already-delicious food without mucking it up.
Lentils have a fascinating history. They were sent here in the summer of 1922 by benevolent extra-terrestrials from the planet Xanadu – that’s why they’re shaped like little flying saucers. They are packed full of nutrients, like riboflavins and iron and stuff, plus they are easy to grow and have the most protein of any vegetable (except for soybeans). And they taste great! Like a combination of all the best parts of creamy pinto beans and nutty whole wheat bread.
Of course, conspiracy theorists calling themselves nutritional anthropologists claim that they were domesticated in the Near East over 10,000 years ago. Riiiiight. Because Neolithic man, who hadn’t even figured out how to make plates yet, TOTALLY selectively cultivated lentils. No, that makes sense – NOT! Pshaw – better luck next time, science. ::rolls eyes:: Seriously, can you believe the nerve of some people?
In all honesty, this is my favorite-so-far lentil recipe. It’s SUPERB! I’m totally making it today, and no, you can’t have any. ::shifty sideways glances::
Bacon Lentil Rice Soup
- 8oz bacon rashers, diced (a rasher is one slice of bacon, for those not in the know)
- 1 cup brown jasmine rice (don’t rinse! That powder is full of flaked-off ricey nutrients, and it’ll help thicken the stock)
- 1 large sweet onion, diced
- 3 carrots, diced
- 3 ribs celery, diced (oooOOOooo, a mirepoire)
- 3 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 8 cups hot water
- 1 tub Chicken Stock concentrate (Knorr Homestyle is my fav)
- 1 tub Beef Stock concentrate (ditto to above)
- 1.5 cups lentils, sorted (seriously, sort them – you’d be surprised how many pieces of lentil-sized gravel make it into the bag. They can really mess up your teeth – you’ve been warned.)
- 2-3 medium sized red potatoes, chopped
- 1 bay leaf (maybe 2, if they’re small)
- Sour Cream, for dolloping
- Place the bacon in a cold, big pot. Over medium heat, render out as much fat as possible while stirring the bacon occasionally until done. Remove bacon bits while reserving drippings in pot.
- Increase heat to medium-high and pour rice into the drippings. Cook 1-2m, stirring occasionally, until you just begin to smell a nutty-rice aroma.
- Quickly dump in the onions, carrots, and celery. Cook 2-3m more, stirring occasionally, until rice and/or onions are translucent and just begin to turn golden brown around the edges.
- Add the garlic and toast for ~30s, stirring continuously.
- Add the water, stock concentrates, lentils, potatoes, and bay leaf(s). Stir until the stock concentrates are completely dissolved.
- Bring to a boil and simmer for 40-45m, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until both lentils and rice are tender. Remove bay leaf(s) and ladle into a giant bowl. Top with a hearty scoop of sour cream and enjoy without sharing!
Fat Girl Nation, I love lentils so much that I’m issuing a challenge, yes, The Fat Girl Great Lentil Challenge. I urge you to submit your best, most delicious, most amazing, most delicious (did I say that already?) lentil recipe – healthy or otherwise. You can enter as many times as you want – unless you plan to spam me Googlized lentil recipes. Then I’ll disqualify you, because I can. I want the lentil recipes you enjoy most. I’ll pick a winner, feature their recipe next week, and mail them a copy of Fat Girl Food, my cookbook*. Recipes due by 11:59pm this Friday, May 4th (May the Fourth be with you, Star Wars fans).
*If you have no lentil recipes but would still like a cookbook, click here to buy your very own copy for as little as $4.95!
Also, not to stymie your creativity, but I have heard a rumor about Lentil Brittle? ::waggles eyebrows::