23 September 2012

Richly Braised Lentils


This recipe comes from Everybody Everyday by Alex Mackay.

I hadn't heard of Alex Mackay before this cookbook landed on my doorstep.

Alex worked in kitchens when he left school at 16, but his career in food really started 15 years ago when Raymond Blanc asked him to run his cookery school, Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons. He is regularly on tv and spent a decade cooking at Norwich City Football Club with Delia Smith and will take over after her retirement this year.

This is his second cookbook. His first cookbook was called Cooking in Provence.



With this cookbook he brings us something different. The concept for this book is knowing a few ingredients really well, making a dish with them and then adapting this into different recipes. There are six basic ingredients, six sauces and six slow-cooked meals and then all the variations of each. 126 recipes in total.

The recipe I decided to make was one of the basic ingredients, braised lentils. I doubled up the recipe and served my braised lentils with mashed potatoes and peas for a really comforting meal, but I could have used the lentils in the 6 following recipes:

  1. Stuffed Mushrooms in Puff Pastry, Creamy Porcini & Lentils
  2. Lentil Chilli with Roast Squash & Sweet & Sour Marmalade
  3. Lentil Moussaka
  4. Mackay's Lentil Pie
  5. Pasta & Vegetables with Lentil Bolognaise
  6. Lentil Fritters with Roast Beetroot & Hot Camembert Cream

Alex has included a slideshow on his website showing each of these dishes and giving tips for cooking them with children, which I think is a nice touch.

I am excited to try the Stuffed Mushrooms in Puff Pastry, Creamy Porcini & Lentils. What an exciting meal that will be. I loved the braised lentils, but pairing them with the mushrooms in puff pastry, oh my!

I really do like the concept for this book. It is such a sensible idea, to have a few great recipes under your belt and then add them to other dishes, to make whole new dishes. A great idea for new cooks and a great reminder to the rest of us to do more with our favourite recipes.

Everybody Everyday  by Alex Mackay

Vegetarian Recipe Count 28 out of 126 recipes  
Vegan Recipe Count 13 out of 126 recipes ( leaving out the suggested addition of yoghurt or cheese

Format: Hardback
Pages:  352
Publisher:  Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN:  978-1408810934
Published:  10 May 2012
Size:  18.9 x 2.8 x 24.6 cm






print recipe

Richly Braised Lentils
This is one of the basic recipes in Alex Mackay's Everybody Everyday cookbook. Deeply flavoured braised puy lentils that can eaten on their own or added to other dishes.
Ingredients
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and cut into 5mm dice
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 700ml plus 2 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • 375ml gutsy red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 250g puy or French lentils
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a good grinding of salt and pepper
  • a generous pinch of sugar
Instructions
1. Preheat your oven to 170c/150c fan/325f/gas mark 3.2. Start with the onions. Get a large ovenproof pan. Add the onions, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and 2 tbsp of water. Cover the pan and put it on a medium heat. Sweat for 7-10 minutes until the onions and garlic are soft, adding an extra 2 tbsp of water if they start to dry out. Take the lid off.3. Add the tomato puree. Turn the heat to high. Fry, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes, watching carefully, until the tomato puree is lightly browned. When it smells like sun-dried tomatoes, it's ready.4. Add the red wine and lentils. Bring to the boil and boil until the wine has reduced by half. Add the tinned tomatoes, bay leaves and the 700ml water. Boil for 5 minutes.5. Cover the pan and put in the oven. Braise the lentils for 30 minutes. Take of the lid. Braise for a further 30 minutes, stirring twice, or until the lentils are tender but still holding their shape.6. When the lentils are cooked, the liquid should be thick and just at the level of the lentils. If there is too much liquid, boil for 1-2 minutes. Season to taste with salt, sugar and pepper. Cover the pan tightly and leave to sit for 10 minutes to allow the lentils to soak up the seasonings.
Details
Total time:
Yield: Serves 2

32 comments:

  1. Ooh, this sounds hearty and delicious, just what we need now the weather is getting chillier! Interesting that sugar is added to the seasoning at the end, will definitely be making this soon as we are all lentil fans in this household:-)

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    Replies
    1. We loved it Camilla, it has a lovely thick sauce and tastes so rich.

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  2. Lovely! Can't wait to try these when I get back home. I wish I could find more recipes for red lentils though, as I have a massive 1kg bag of them at home!

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    1. Cook a red lentil , coconut and pineapple curry . Yum yum . I will look out the recipe in the morning for you

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  3. This sounds delicious and I am on my way to the shop for some wine now! X

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    1. Remember to keep some wine for the lentil :)

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  4. You're right this sounds like such a great idea for a cookery book! Let's hope my public library's got one! And great lentil stew!

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    1. I will cross my fingers for you. If they don't, ask if they can order one for you. Most libraries will do this for a very small charge.

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  5. This looks gooorgeous! So rich and hearty for autumn, I'll have to try this one :)

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  6. Those lentils look great. I have a copy of the book as well, but didn't really take to the concept of it. I'll try those lentils though!

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    Replies
    1. Ahhh well, a chance to revisit the cookbook then.

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  7. I spotted this book and it looked quite appealing but haven't bought it yet, though your photo looks fabulous - it's like I can see the flavours jumping out of that sauce! I grew up in Norfolk so always support the locals!

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    1. I am glad the photo does all that. What more could I ask :)

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  8. Sounds like an excellent concept, will look out for this book.

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    1. As if you need another Janice. You are like me, the cookbooks are taking over the house.

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  9. Love the conceptual idea of this book (not the lentils though)!

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    1. Awww that's a shame Tandy. They are so economical & good for you.

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  10. I like the book concept! I love this basic braised lentils, I often cook lentils but never in the oven! The Stuffed Mushrooms in Puff Pastry, Creamy Porcini and Lentils must be delicious!!!

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    Replies
    1. The stuffed mushrooms do sound amazing. I will have to make some more lentils soon, so I can make them.

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  11. This looks heavenly and just the perfect dish for this colder weather. Love dishes which you can put in the oven to cook away whilst catching up with other things like visiting great food blogs like yours!

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    Replies
    1. It is definitely the perfect dish for this soggy weather.

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  12. I have to admit that I hadn't heard of Alex till your post. But these lentils look delish and just the perfect antidote to this awful weatehr we are suffering. Warms me up just thinking about it.

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    1. The weather is truly rotten and I think the only thing good about it is hearty dishes.

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  13. That sounds like a great book and I love the photos of your dish. Delicious.

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  14. I like the idea for this book too as I would love to be one of those people who can just rustle dishes up using whatever's to hand and this would be a good start. Will definitely try this lentil recipe - as you know - I have a slight obsession with getting fibre into the kids so always on the lookout for good recipes full of pulses.

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    Replies
    1. Ahhh well this is one for you then Louise :)

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  15. I reserved this cookbook at my library right after I read your post - the idea of braised lentils sounded fantastic. Just went in the oven five minutes ago! :o) Did you make any of the accompanying recipes?

    (rarely comment, but been following your blog for a few years now...love it!)

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  16. I even love the name of the recipe "richly braised lentils." I am a huge fan of lentils in general but this seems so warm and comforting. I am quite excited to make these. And to read the cook book.

    Erin - ekcantcook.blogspot.com

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I love reading comments, so thank you for taking the time to leave one. Unfortunately, I'm bombarded with spam, so I've turned on comment moderation. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can and respond to them. Don't panic, they will disappear when you hit publish. Jac x

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