Ooh, look – Will Self loves our lentils!*
*Actually, he’s never expressed the slightest interest in our lentils (though I bet he’d love them if he got the chance). What really happened was I spilt a bag of them all over – and lentils really do get all over – and he was the nearest thing to hand when I swept them up. Not that he’ll ever know this – @wself doesn’t follow a single person on Twitter, an unusual approach to social media if you ask me but, hey, each to their own. That said, even @pontifex follows some people and he’s, like, The Pope. I bet he’d love our lentils…
Anyway, whatever those famous people may or may not think about them, I’ll guarantee that you will totally lurve our lentils (for you are a person of impeccable taste). This is a fantastic dish with some subtle, delicious flavours going on. It’s labelled ‘spiced’ not ‘spicy’ for a reason. There are only three spices in this dish but they add up to vastly more than the sum of their parts. Very simple, very special.
It’s simplicity itself to make and great to eat stew-style with crusty bread. If you reduce the amount of stock you use, it also goes really well with salad or steamed vegetables. You know, of course, that lentils have a high nutritional value, containing protein, iron, folic acid, copper and manganese, among other things (yes, they’re that good for you). This is a great recovery dish so, in the words of songstress Laura Hocking, get out your freakin’ trainers and go for a freakin’ run. Then have this for dinner afterwards.
Spiced Lentil Stew
1 cup brown lentils, soaked for about 8 hours
1 leek, sliced
3 carrots, sliced
1 head broccoli, cut into chunks
1 star anise, crushed and chopped finely
Half teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon olive oil
Zest and juice of 1 lime
500ml vegetable stock
Black pepper to taste
1 Saute the vegetables in the olive oil for about 10 minutes until the leek starts to soften.
2 Add the spices, stir well and cook for a minute or so, coating the vegetables with them.
3 Add the drained lentils and enough vegetable stock to cover all the ingredients. Cook for 20-25 minutes, checking occasionally and topping up with more stock if necessary. The lentils are ready when they’re soft but still intact.
4 When the lentils are done, add the zest and juice of the lime. Stir well and cook for one more minute.
5 Remove from the heat and add black pepper to taste.