Comfort food from the earth

You are going to have to trust me on this one. I know this recipe doesn’t sound particularly tasty, I know it sounds like a strange combination. plateful 8-3-14It is one of those meals we cooked with ‘what we have’. We’d eaten rather too many eggy/creamy dishes and wanted something earthy and plain. To us, as semi-veggies, that means lentils. But what to have with them? bag of potatoes 8-3-14basket of onions 8-3-14We have lots of potatoes [Pablo’s] and onions [ours], so the obvious dish was Potatoes Boulangère for which we always turn to Delia Smith’s recipe. The lentil dish is from the BBC Food website, from Nigel Slater’s ‘Simple Cooking’ series: the only difference is that we left out the bacon.

For the lentils:-
4 medium-sized onions
Olive oil
3 small carrots
½ tsp pimenton dulce
½ tsp ground cinnamon spices 8-3-141 tsp nutmeg, grated
300g puy lentils lentils - rinsed 8-3-14500ml stock
A good handful of fresh, flat-leaved parsley
Knob of butter
100g creme fraiche [we used Greek yogurt]

Roughly chop two of the onions and put into a deep pan with the olive oil. Cut the carrot into chunks and add to the pan. Cover and let it steam for a few minutes, without browning. onions and carrots - steam 8-3-14Add the three spices. pan - add the spices 8-3-14

stock in jug 8-3-14pan - add stock 8-3-14Add the lentils, stock and water. Cover and leave for 30 minutes on a medium heat until the lentils have softened.

Meanwhile, slice the remaining two onions. pan - butter for onions 8-3-14In a frying pan, melt the knob of butter and add the onions. Cook very gently until golden brown. Sprinkle with a grate of nutmeg. Set aside. onions - caramelised 8-3-14When the lentils are cooked, stir in the chopped parsley. Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt, and pile the caramelised onions on top.

For the Potatoes Boulangère:-
Serves 4-6
900g potatoes
1 large onion
150ml hot vegetable stock stock cube 8-3-14150ml milk [often I miss the milk and use double the quantity of stock]
25g butter
Salt and freshly-milled black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to Gas 4/350F/180C.

Butter an oblong, shallow ovenproof dish.

Peel the potatoes and slice thinly. Peel the onion and chop finely.

Arrange a layer of potatoes in the bottom of the dish, followed by a sprinkling of onion and a seasoning of salt and pepper. Continue layering like this until everything is in, and you finish on a layer of potatoes. Season. potatoes - pouring on the stock 8-3-14Pour in the stock/milk. Fleck dots of butter over the top.

Put the dish into the highest shelf in your oven and bake for 45 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked and golden brown. potatoes - in the oven 8-3-14potatoes - just out of the oven 8-3-145 to remember
la tierra – the earth
sabroso/a – tasty
cremoso/a – creamy
las lentejas – the lentils
a punto de caramelo – caramelised

fennel gratin - delia smiths' complete cookery course 18-8-13

‘Delia’s Complete Cookery Course’ by Delia Smith

8 thoughts on “Comfort food from the earth

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