In Italy, people often eat lentils for New Year — apparently. The coin-like shape means that they’re associated with prosperity. A bigger reason is that they probably put them in a recipe that’s amazing and tasty. Here is ma favourite lentil recipe (after ma maw’s soup — hi maw).
This is a middle-eastern dish, best eaten with some kindae pitta or flatbread. Or even tortilla chips, why not. I normally split a pitta in half lengthwise and toast the halves.
In brief: Heat some oil, garlic and spices in a pan while cooking the lentils in a separate pan, then once the lentils are cooked you add them to the garlicky oil, along with tomato, tahini and lemon.
Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty More
Serves 4 as a main
500g Puy lentils (or any green/brown lentils)
8 TBs olive oil
8 garlic cloves (or 3 TBs of crushed garlic — that’s what I use. Life’s too short mate)
1 TBs ground cumin
1 tin of plum tomatoes (or chopped tomatoes)
5 TBs lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
Spring onions, one bunch
100g coriander (optional, ’cause it gives some people the boke)
4 pitta breads
- Boil water and add to pan with lentils. Use just enough water tae cover the lentils, then top up as needed — it’s no’ pasta. Cook for aboot 25 minutes, until they’re soft. Drain them if they need it. If ye manage the water situation right, you might no have any water tae drain.
- While that’s happenin’, heat the oil in the other pan on a low heat, then add the garlic an’ cumin. Stir occasionally. Chop up the coriander.
- When the lentils are done, pap them intae the garlic pan wi’ the tomatoes and most of the coriander — save a wee bit for garnish. Turn the heat up tae medium. Stir well then add the tahini, lemon juice, a tablespoon of salt (aye really. Calm doon.) and some black pepper.
- Turn the heat back doon, then stir for about 5 more minutes. Add water as you go tae keep it moist — ye should add about 200ml (3/4 cup) of water in total. Gie the lentils a wee mash.
- Pap it oan the plates, then cut up the spring onions (scissors is fine, it’s no’ Masterchef) and chunk them on top wi’ the coriander. Don’t forget the pitta.
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