Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

A gracious welcome to 2008.

Every culture has a New Year's Day food tradition. Many of them are similar in spirit if not in ingredients. A common tradition, and one I heartily endorse, is the eating of lentils (preferably with something porky). The shape of lentils is similar to that of coins (well it is if you squint and suspend disbelief for a moment) and therefore eating them on New Year's Day should lead to a prosperous New Year. They taste good too.

This is the lentil dish we ate for lunch today. In addition to the lentils, it includes sauteed chorizo "coins", shallots and garlic. We ate it with a salad of radicchio and parsley and a whole wheat baguette spread with St. Andre cheese.

New Year Lentils
  • 1 cup lentils (lentilles du Puy please)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup sliced chorizo (I used hard chorizo, but a soft chorizo or another cured pork product can be used)
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
Rinse the lentils and put them into a 2-3 quart saucepan. Cover with water by 2 inches, toss in the bay leaf, a pinch of salt. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.

Simmer the lentils under tender (taste one or two to see). Check on them occasionally to make sure they are covered with water, adding more if they get too dry. Depending on the age of your lentils, this could take anywhere from 25 to 50 minutes.

Drain the lentils in a colander or strainer and transfer to a bowl (they do not have to be bone-dry, it's ok to leave them a little damp). Discard the bay leaf.

In a dry skillet, saute the chorizo over medium high heat until it just starts to crisp. Add the shallots to the pan and saute in the fat given off by the chorizo (add some olive oil to the pan if your sausage doesn't render enough fat). After the shallots start to soften (about 5 minutes) , add in the garlic. Saute for another minute and then add the contents of the skillet to the bowl with the lentils (if there's a lot of fat in pan you may want to spoon some of it off first).

Make a quick dressing by whisking the mustard, vinegar and olive oil together. Pour it over the lentil mixture and toss gently. Taste for salt, acid (vinegar) and oil and add more of whatever is needed.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 4 as part of a meal.

Fresh herbs such as thyme, parsley or savory would be great in this.


scmom (Barbara) said...

That looks really good -- one of my favorite foods (legumes)! I'll have to give that a try.

Sunday Cook said...

Thanks Barbara. It's really good *and* also very versatile. Add a little chicken broth and you've got soup!

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