As some of you may know, I have a bit of a love-eugh relationship with red lentils. The thing that I love about them is also the thing that makes them – for a lazy cook like me, anyway – a little hard to work with. Like a lot of pulses, they’re not very flavourful on their own and, beyond that, they will happily disintegrate when over-cooked. This is fantastic if you want to last-minute thicken some over-zealous braising liquid into a creamy sauce, or when you want to add protein and body to (and thus make a solid meal out of) an already smooth purreed soup (I’m thinking “curried squash” or “carrot and ginger” for obvious already-orange examples, but you get the idea)… But is pretty crappy if what you want is to make a quick-and-dirty bean dish for a week-day dinner.
Case in point: I tried to make a lentils-and-couscous dish with beans and tomatoes thrown in, and what I actually wound up with was more like “lentil poridge” or “weirdly chunky hummus” with beans and tomatoes thrown in.
Don’t get me wrong: It tasted just fine, and was exactly as filling as I needed it to be, too. But it also means that I have, chilling my fridge, about 1.5 cups of “weirdly chunky hummus”… that I’m not totally sure what to do with.
So what do you do when you’ve got leftovers that you’re not sure how to use?
I my case, it means that I’m cooking up another two cups (or one cup, + two cups of bone stock) of lentils, mashing them up, adding a quarter-cup of flour plus some curry powder, salt, black pepper, crushed garlic and parmesan cheese, and then stirring in my leftover lentil-mixture.
The result, in theory, should be a stiff mix that I can spoon into my frying pan (or my oven, on a super-well-greased cookie sheet – more likely, even in the current hot-and-humid situation) and fry/bake into something akin to falafel, which I could then serve with the very, very last of the sour cream (I used up the last of the yoghurt making apricot-chocolate-chip cupcakes this morning) and some cilantro/mint from the garden (possibly paired with heavily diced cucumber, since I’ve got some… Tsazik-ish?) and call “dinner” on this hot-and-sticky evening when I don’t much feel like putting tonnes of effort into anything fancy.
Fingers crossed. 🙂
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 Keep in mind: This was not a vegan dish. I cooked the lentils in bone stock – which is how I usually do it. If I’d wanted something this flavourful and umami-tastic while also vegan, I’d have cooked them in plain water, but done up a dressing that included ingredients like marmite, mustard, mashed garlic, nutritional yeast, and balsamic vinegar (the tomatoes in the dish would have helped, too).
 I have a LOT of bones in my freezer(s) and TWO (not one, but TWO) chicken carcasses in my fridge. I need to use up the stock I already have before I can make more. And I need to make more. For real. O.O
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