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Posts tagged as using a pot of beans

Using a Pot of Beans Part IV: Curried Lentils

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Feb 9, 2011 at 2:24pm

curried lentils

Are you still with me?  It’s been a lot of beans this last week, I know, but keep in mind that any of these dishes can be frozen for a future warm dinner.

This version is sort of dal meets chana masala – two of my two favorite bean dishes.  I’ve had the chana masala recipe – via the always awesome Smitten Kitchen – on my mind for quite awhile.  I substituted my black lentils for the garbanzos for a ridiculously delicious result.

Just try to save yourself enough for lunch the next day (when it will taste even better).  I predict failure.

The whole comes together quickly (most of the ingredients are easily measured out spices) and delivers Indian take-out heaven without the take-out hassle.  When it’s 5 degrees outside, that’s worth something.  Pair with basmati rice or warm naan and finish with a dollop of thick yogurt.

(Also see Using a Pot of Beans Part I: Poached Egg Over Lentils, Bacon & Cabbage; Using a Pot of Beans Part II: Almost-Instant Vegetable Bean Soup; and Using a Pot of Beans Part III: Lentil Hummus.  Click here for the whole series.)

Curried Lentils (or Any Beans!)
Adapted from Chana Masala recipe by Smitten Kitchen
Serves 2

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1/2 fresh, hot green chili pepper, minced
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin
pinch ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tsp. cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. garam masala
1 c. tomatoes, chopped small (fresh or canned)
1/3 c. water
2 c. cooked beans (lentils or chickpeas)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 lemon (juiced)

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion, garlic, ginger and pepper and sauté over medium heat until browned, about 5 minutes. Turn heat down to medium-low and add the coriander, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, cumin seeds, paprika, and garam masala. Cook onion mixture with spices for a minute or two, then add the tomatoes and any accumulated juices, scraping up any bits that have stuck to the pan. Add the water and chickpeas. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, then stir in salt and lemon juice.

Eat up or put a lid on it and reheat it when needed. Curries such as this reheat very well, later or or in the days that follow, should it last that long.

Using a Pot of Beans Part III: Lentil Hummus

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Feb 7, 2011 at 7:42am

lentil hummus

This is the same Creamy, Fluffy Hummus – The Way It’s Supposed To Be recipe I posted a few months ago, except substituting black lentils for the garbanzos.  That’s the thing with hummus – you can make it with whatever bean you have on hand and it will always be lovely.

As true as it was when I first posted it, the secret to fluffy hummus is to emulsify the tahini with the lemon juice before you start whipping in the beans.  I give a basic outline for the seasoning, but you can adjust it to you suit your own favorite flavors.

Make a meal of it by serving with warm pita bread and a big salad.  Spread the hummus on the pita, pile some salad on top of that, take huge bites – serious yum.  For those of you avoiding grains, the creamy garlicky goodness that is a properly prepared hummus makes a delicious dip for radishes, cauliflower, and peppers.

You could even saute the vegetables in a bit of olive oil first until tender-crisp, pile the warm vegetables on top of a simple green salad, finish with hummus.  You’ll get an incredibly satisfying warm/cool, crunchy/creamy, sweet/salty thing going on.

(Also see Using a Pot of Beans Part I: Poached Egg Over Lentils, Bacon & Cabbage and Using a Pot of Beans Part II: Almost-Instant Vegetable Bean Soup.)

Creamy, Fluffy Lentil (or Any Bean!) Hummus
Makes about 2 cups

1/4 c. tahini
juice of one lemon, about 1/4 c.
1/4 c. water or more
1/2 of a whole preserved lemon, seeds discarded (I find jars of whole preserved lemons at Whole Foods), minced (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2/3 c. cooked lentils (or other beans)
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. ground chipotle chili powder (optional, if you like spiciness; if not, skip it)
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Add tahini, lemon juice, and water to the bowl of a blender.  Blend on high until the tahini becomes very fluffy and pale colored.  Add the minced preserved lemon (if using) and garlic and blend until pureed.  Add some of the the olive oil and lentils, a little bit at a time of each, blending until completely pureed before adding more.  Add a little bit more water at any point if hummus seems too thick.  You want it to be creamy and the consistency of mayonnaise.

Heat a small skillet over medium heat.  Add cumin and toast for a minute or two, just until fragrant and toasty smelling.  Do not burn it.  Remove from heat and immediately scrape it into the hummus.  Add smoked paprika and chili powder (if using).  Blend to incorporate.  Taste and adjust seasonings and salt (you’ll need less salt if you used the preserved lemon).  Grind in some pepper.  Blend again.

Scrape hummus into a serving bowl.  Drizzle with additional olive oil and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.  (Can be made ahead; cover and chill, bring to room temperature before serving.)

Using a Pot of Beans Part II: Almost-Instant Vegetable Bean Soup

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Feb 5, 2011 at 10:38am

Almost-Instant Vegetable Bean Soup

This is a variation on a recipe from Jacques Pepin’s fabulous cookbook Fast Food My Way.  If you like the idea of easy, fast, flavor-packed, healthy dinner ideas – yes, it delivers all of those things – I can’t recommend the book highly enough.

As the name implies, this light-yet-filling soup is on the table in less than 10 minutes.  Jacques refers to it as “fridge soup.”  I think of it as “a bowlful of health.”  It is delicious.

Though the ingredients are few, the flavor is big.  Punch it up even more with a generous grating of cheese to finish.  If you happen to have anchovy or herb butter on hand, float a teaspoon or so on top (or drizzle with seriously fruity olive oil), grind plenty of black pepper over the whole, and be glad for fast, hot soup on a cold Minnesota day.

Riff on this basic concept to your heart and stomach’s content: Add neatly diced leftover roast, a shower of fresh herbs, a fried egg, cubes of firm tofu, a spoonful of kimchi, leftover rice, a squirt of sriracha, toasted croutons…if you can imagine it, it can be yours in mere minutes.

(Also see Using a Pot of Beans Part I: Poached Egg over Lentils, Bacon & Cabbage.)

Almost-Instant Vegetable Bean Soup
Serves 2 (double or more as you like)

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 c. grated vegetables (any combination of cauliflower, cabbage, shallot, carrot, fennel, broccoli, celery, radishes – whatever you have/like)
1/2 c. cooked beans
2 c. water
1 tsp. salt
freshly grated Parmesan or Gruyere cheese (or another that you have/like)
anchovy butter, herb butter, or extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat.  Stir in grated vegetables to coat with oil, then add water and salt.  Bring to a boil, turn heat to low, and simmer for 2-3 minutes until vegetables are tender-crisp.  Ladle into bowls and top with plenty of grated cheese, a pat of butter or drizzle of oil, and a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper.