Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lentils and Mushrooms (with Quinoa)

I should be posting about delicious spring foods.  Asparagus (one of my favorite vegetables), strawberries, salads.  Instead, it's been one week-long rain storm in our area.  Of course, my husband is happy, the farmers are happy and the frog that has taken residence outside our home is happy.  And while I wait for the sun, the rainy weather makes me want warm soup and stews.  Like this lentils with mushrooms dish.

I'm trying to teach myself to like mushrooms more and this is the perfect meal to do it! The mushrooms ended up being the exact same color as the cooked brown lentils so I could happily eat the mushrooms without really noticing them.  Also, who can turn down anything with bacon? Just a bit of crumbled bacon on top really makes this dish. 

For lunch the next day, I happened to mix the leftover lentil and mushrooms dish with some leftover quinoa and I have to say, I liked the combination even more than just the lentils and mushrooms dish alone! The nuttiness of the quinoa is pretty perfect for the lentils and mushrooms.

If you happen to have spring in your area, you may not want this recipe now.  But save it for a rainy day!

Lentils with Mushrooms and Quinoa
Taken from: Leite's Culinaria
Serves 6
  • 1 1/4 cups small brown or green lentils, rinsed
  • 1 quart (4 cups) cold water or chicken stock or a combination
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into slices
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 6-8 ounces mushrooms, cut in pieces (original recipe suggested 4 oz. small cremini mushrooms and 4 ounces oyster mushrooms)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste
  • 3 to 6 slices bacon, preferably thick-cut (I used 4)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  1. Place the lentils in a large saucepan, cover with 4 cups of water or stock, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer gently until tender, at least 35 minutes or so. (The exact timing will depend on the type and age of the lentils.) Drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, rinse quinoa.  Add quinoa and 1 cup water to a pot, cover and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and keep warm.
  3. Heat a pan to medium-high.  Add bacon and fry until crisp. Place bacon on a plate lined with paper towels.
  4. Lower heat to medium.  If you choose, keep the bacon fat (which is so good...otherwise, use 2 tablespoons of olive oil) and add the onion and carrots and sauté just until onion is softened and pale golden, 7-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the butter, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and the mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms are tender. Season with salt and pepper. Add the lentils, the 3 tablespoons of chopped parsley, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and heat, stirring, just until warmed through. Taste and season the lentils accordingly with more lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  5. Top quinoa with lentil dish.  Sprinkle dish with extra parsley and crumbled bacon.

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