Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Ethiopian Red Lentils with Peppers

Simultaneously preparing double batches of five hot Ethiopian dishes on a stove with only three working burners was a challenge indeed. Our cooking started around 1 p.m. and didn't end until everyone arrived around 7 p.m. And this was with days of preparation before (injera and truffles made, spice mixes prepared, onions chopped finely and ready). The cooking even included butchering a chicken, something neither Marie nor I had done before.

The complexity of the meal made me grateful for a delicious and simple dish like this one. With the omission of berbere and nit'ir qibe, the red lentils exuded a mild flavor with just a hint of spice from the jalapenos. As they slowly cooked, the lentils melded together into a creamy mass.

I only wish I had hunted for red jalapenos. I was trying to get all my ingredients at one grocery store, and there were only green jalapenos available. The taste was fine, but I didn't love the little green bits tucked in with the red lentils. It felt a little like Christmas.

Red Lentils with Peppers
recipe from Myra Kornfield's The Healthy Hedonist Holidays: A Year of Multi-Cultural, Vegetarian-Friendly Holiday Feasts

Myra said the recipe serves 6, which really means it serves 6 as a main dish. If you prepare several dishes, you could probably stretch this dish to feed 10 or 12 as part of an Ethiopian dinner plate. My lentils kept well for about a week afterward.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups onion, diced small
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon peeled, minced fresh ginger
2 jalapenos (preferably red), seeded and minced
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups red lentils, sorted and washed
4 cups water
Salt and black pepper
1 teaspoon lemon juice (I left this out by accident, and it was still delicious.)

Warm the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onions, garlic, ginger and jalapenos, and saute for about 10 minutes, until the onions are softened. Add the paprika and tomato paste, and stir to combine.

Add the lentils and water. Cover the saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir in 1 3/4 teaspoon salt. Lower the heat, and cook the lentils partially covered for 20 minutes, stirring frequently until the lentils have melted down. I cooked my lentils down for about 40 minutes, until they were a delicious, creamy mass and a stark contrast to the firmer brown lentils we also had in the meal. I also added a little more water since the water had mostly evaporated.

Sprinkle with black pepper, and stir in the lemon juice. Taste and adjust salt if necessary.

1 comment:

  1. Another Ethiopian recipe to are such fun!