One of the 2008 new year's resolutions in the A&N household was to eat less meat. Frankly, I don't subscribe to new year's resolutions so I wonder in what moment of mental unclarity this declaration came about, but it's firmly out there and we're trying to heed it. We've set ourselves the goal of eating 3 vegetarian dinners a week, which has been more successful some weeks and less so others. Since we are so used to being raging carnivores, I'm finding it's taking me much more time to plan recipes and stock up on ingredients, rather than just defaulting to a meat-and-two-veg position.
A birthday or two ago I received Dennis Cotter's Paradiso Seasons, a great veggie cook book from a well-respected vegetarian chef. His recipes are grouped seasonally so you can get the best of what's currently on offer, and I've been referring to him a lot lately. Granted, this isn't the sexiest season to be vegetarian ('OOoh, cabbage AGAIN!') and since neither of us eat heavy cheeses or creams our choices are limited to an almost vegan diet. Meaning that if we are going to stick to this 3/7ths vegetarianism, we'd better get used to proclaiming "OOoh, cabbage!'.
This week's cabbage moment comes in the form of wilted kale with puy lentils, thyme, and tomatoes. It's a very easy recipe to make, and with parmegian cheese grated on top, it edged its way to being a stew with lovely salty tomatoey stock. We plumped up the quantities of everything listed so that we could have this as a main course with enough for leftovers (though I've listed the original recipe, below). The problem, in Mr A&N's eyes, was that this was a vegetarian meal that smacked of old-school, sandal-wearing, dubiously-cleansed vegetarians. So we cracked and added some bacon to the mix. We're still getting the hang of this thing.
Wilted kale with garlic, puy lentils, and thyme
From Dennis Cotter's Paradiso Seasons
2 Tbs puy lentils
2 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 large handfuls kale, roughly chopped
2 tomatoes, diced (note: we used a tin of tomatoes)
2 small sprigs of thyme, leaves only
salt and pepper to season
- Boil the lentils in plenty of boiled water until just tender (about 12 minutes)
- heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a wide pan and cook the onion for one minute over medium heat.
- Add the garlic and kale, increase the heat and cook for two minutes until the kale hs wilted and turned a dark glossy green.
- Add the tomatoes to the pan with the cooked lentils and the thyme.
- Continue cooking, stirring often and adding a splash of water occasionally, until the tomatoes are soft and the kale is tender.
- Add another tablespoon of olive oil at the end, along with salt and pepper to season.