Thursday, November 19, 2009

When life gives you lemons...

...make lentil stew!

It's not intuitive, no.

I don't remember why I was stockpiling so many lemons. But there they were Wednesday night, begging to be used for something spectacular. (Note: lemonade is not spectacular--it is disgusting.)

I thought briefly about plopping them into a bowl and dubbing them our new centerpiece; however, after considering that the cats chew on everything and not relishing the idea of soggy moldy lemon pieces spit out across the dining room, I focused on this blog's challenge.

I remembered reading an interesting recipe involving lentils (check) and lemons (triple check). After searching through several books' indexes I found it again, nestled away in what surely is one of the most famous vegetarian cookbooks:

Anna Thomas' The Vegetarian Epicure

You know the one. Cute line drawings, intriguing recipes, and several references to the social smoking of marijuana (she wrote the book while in college. in the 70's. Hello.).

Blonde Lentil Soup <--- click here to see the official recipe via Google Book

My slightly altered version:

Make 5 cups of broth (I had homemade broth in the freezer--go me!)

2 onions
3 cloves of garlic
2 Tbs. butter
1 tsp lemon rind, grated
1 bay leaf
1 cup dried yellow lentils
juice of 1 lemon
sweet basil
salt & pepper

Saute the onion and garlic in the butter. When the onions begin to turn brown, add them to the broth along with the lemon rind, bay leaf, and lentils. Let it cook for about 40 to 60 minutes, adding water to maintain the same consistency. Now add the freshly squeezed lemon juice, a little crushed sweet basil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let it simmer another 20 minutes or so and serve.

The dish was described as "exotic," and I suppose it was. You don't normally think "citrus-y zest" when you're slurping up legumes. But maybe you should.

My verdict: awesome dish. And it wasn't just me, the baby girl adored it too (she ate a ramekin full). My husband wasn't as thrilled, but I suspect it had more to do with the fact that dinner was 90 minutes late (the world's best time manager I'm not) than how it tasted; he told me he wasn't a fan of lemony stew but then ate three bowls. I'm chalking his grouchy food comments down to his being out-of-his mind starved.

Because I'm telling you: it was good.


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