Thursday, May 8, 2014
Vegan Recipe: The Unlucky Hunter's Lentils Cacciatore
Lentils are one of my favorite legumes because they don't require overnight soaking or lengthy cooking periods. I also appreciate their earthy, "meatier" and less "beany" flavor, and their small size makes them useful in a wider variety of recipes than larger beans.
I had been craving lentils for some time now, so one recent morning when Greg informed me that he'd miss dinner due to an afternoon appointment back in Durham followed by a late-night hockey game in Raleigh, I jumped on the opportunity to play in the kitchen with carbs, and more specifically, with regular brown lentils. The following recipe is what I came up with, which was inspired by a friend's request for vegan Dutch oven recipes.
The name is a play on "Chicken Cacciatore," or hunter-style chicken (cacciatore means hunter in Italian), a traditional Italian dish that traces its roots back to earlier times when a hunter would bring back a rabbit or wild fowl to throw in a pot along with tomatoes and other vegetables from his family's garden, some herbs, maybe a few foraged mushrooms and a splash or two of wine. Presumably, an unlucky hunter would have to settle for a meatless stew, perhaps one like this...
1 cup lentils, picked over & rinsed
2 cups water
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 Tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small bell pepper, or 1/2 large bell pepper, seeded & chopped
6 cloves garlic, crushed
4 oz (1/2 of a package) small brown mushrooms, cleaned & quartered
1/2 cup dry red wine (something Italian is perfect)
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp of each of the following dried herbs: rosemary (crushed lightly with your fingers), rubbed sage, thyme, parsley
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp (or to taste) red pepper flakes (or hotter crushed chilies if preferred)
Stir in the mushrooms, bring back to a simmer, partially cover with lid and cook at a simmer for another 10 minutes or until lentils are tender. Stir in the salt, taste for balance and adjust seasonings as desired. Serve in bowls, either "as is" (shown on left here) or spooned over cooked pasta or rice (shown over rotini in the large photo at the top of this post). Makes approx. 6 servings and leftovers are delicious reheated the next day.
Carolina Sauce Company