French Lentils with Cream, Mushrooms and Greens

So good!
Simple ingredients make the best food!
Simple ingredients make the best food!

I’ve been working really hard to shift us to a plant based diet for the New Year. For the first two weeks, I was obsessed with everything Japanese. Clean broths, lots of fish and veggies. Everything was squeaky clean. Perhaps too clean. Poor Jason was beginning to look famished. So this week, I’ve gone back to my cooking roots and I’ve been working on more familiar inspiration. I decided to start with lentils. Why lentils? Lentils have the second highest ratio of protein per calorie of any legume, except for soybeans. So, it’s a great plant based protein source:)

French Lentils
French Lentils

Have you cooked with lentils? Most people tend to simply use lentils in soup, but they are so adaptable and can be used in so many other dishes. There are tons of varieties available. The colors range from yellow to red-orange to green, brown and black. It can get very confusing if are not familiar with the differences between them. The French lentil is a good option for this recipe because they are sturdy and don’t fall apart.

So, I stumbled onto this amazing looking lentil recipe on Pinterest. I didn’t have the exact ingredients, but I decided to swing it anyway. The most important part of the recipe was the French lentils. the next key ingredient was mushrooms and I had a huge batch of chanterelle mushrooms that I needed to use.

Chanterelle Mushrooms!
Chanterelles

The recipe also called for kale. Given my recent Japanese food kick, I had a bunch of baby bok choy, so I decided to use it.

Shallots and garlic add a lot of great flavor.
Shallots and garlic add lots of flavor.

Feel free to use the mushrooms or greens of your choice. They will work!

Baby bok choy and chanterelle mushrooms. Don't forget the wine!
Baby bok choy and chanterelle mushrooms.

Ok, so as the the recipe states, it contains cream. Yes, cream. Actually, a lot of cream. Here’s the thing. There is nothing like eating real food to get your glow on! Live it up and enjoy the deliciousness of whole milk, butter and CREAM.

Plenty of cream!
Plenty of cream!

These ingredients are great to have in a diet that is comprised of fresh whole foods. Go ahead. Eat like royalty (at least once in awhile), as long as the ingredients you use include lots of delicious organic veggies, herbs and nutritious proteins like lentils!

So good!
The finished product!

The recipe is actually very easy, but does occupy 3 pans. It was worth it!

French Lentils with Cream, Chanterelles and Greens
Serves 2
Cream braised French lentils. Simply delicious and decadent!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup French lentils
  2. 3 cups vegetable broth
  3. 3 TBS unsalted butter
  4. 1 small shallot, diced
  5. 8 ounces chanterelle mushrooms
  6. 1 tsp kosher salt
  7. 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  8. 1/4 cup of dry white wine
  9. 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  10. 1 TBS olive oil
  11. 2 eggs
  12. 6 baby bok choy, chopped, ends removed
  13. Parmesan to finish
Instructions
  1. Rinse lentils. Simmer in vegetable broth for 30 minutes. Lentils should be al dente. In a large skillet, at medium-high heat, brown butter. Add shallot. Cook until about a minute. Add mushrooms and 1/2 of the salt. Then add garlic. Cook until it starts to slightly stick to the bottom of the pan. Do not burn. Deglaze with the wine. Reduce until nearly dry. Add cream and simmer until cream just begins to thicken up. Add lentils and the remaining salt. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. In a separate pan, add enough oil to cook the 2 eggs. Cook eggs to your liking. And place on a separate plate, until lentils are done. Add the chopped bok choy to the lentils. Do not overcook, keep them green. Season lentils if needed. Serve 2 equal portions, with an egg on each. Top with freshly grated parmesan. Yum!
Adapted from From Ashley Rodriguez's "Date Night"
Adapted from From Ashley Rodriguez's "Date Night"
Relish it http://relish.guru/

Bacon and Mushroom Risotto with Greens

Bacon and Mushroom Risotto with Greens

It was one of those nights. You know what I mean. The day was cold and wet, I had tons of errands and the traffic was especially bad. (Did I mention that it was Monday?) I looked at the clock. It was 5:30, I was hungry and we were low on groceries. Agh! I would have to make due with the slim pickings in my pantry.

Bacon
Bacon

My mind kept thinking of the small package of bacon, sitting in the refrigerator drawer. Yes. Bacon. Something that we rarely purchase, except during the holidays. This would be the flavor booster I needed for my meager Monday night dinner.

There are a handful of pantry staples that one always needs to keep plentiful, especially in the winter months. Being gluten free, my winter staples are rice, lentils, beans and polenta. In a pinch, I can make a hearty, tasty meal, with any of these items!

Arborio Rice
Arborio Rice

I decided that Arborio rice (rice for risotto) would be a perfect base for this cozy, midweek dinner.

Next I took a peak into my refrigerator and quickly found bacon, onion, greens (a mix of shaved kale and brussels sprouts) and mushrooms.

Mushrooms, Greens, Hazelnuts and Onions.
Mushrooms, Greens, Hazelnuts and Onions.

These veggies were the perfect combination for the salty bacon. But, there was something missing. I decided to add some hazelnuts for added interest and texture.

It’s important to cook these ingredients separately from the risotto, otherwise, they get over cooked and mushy. So, sauté the chopped bacon, onions, greens, nuts and mushrooms in the risotto pan.

Sauteed bacon, onions, mushrooms, hazelnuts and greens.
Sauteed bacon, onions, mushrooms, hazelnuts and greens.

The bacon should produce a sufficient amount of grease to cook all of these ingredients! But if the mixture starts to stick to the pan, add a drizzle of olive oil and/or deglaze with a little chicken broth or white wine. (I tend to use high quality, uncured, nitrate free bacon. It’s worth it.) Once everything is cooked through, remove the mixture from the pan.

Now, it’s time to make the risotto. In the same pan, melt 1TBS of butter. Add all of the rice and sauté in the butter for 5 minutes.

Toast the risotto.
Toast the risotto.

This adds a nice toasty flavor to the rice. Now, add a total of 5 cups of chicken broth, one cup at a time, stirring regularly. The rice will slowly cook and soak up the broth. As the mixture dries up or starts to stick to the pan, add another cup of broth. It will take 20-30 minutes. Be patient. Enjoy the process. You will be rewarded;)

The final steps!!
The final steps!!

When you finally add the last cup of broth, go ahead and add the bacon mixture. Continue stirring and salt if needed. When the rice looks nearly done, add 1/4-1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese. Stir a bit more. You know its done, when it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and a simple salad!

 

Bacon and Mushroom Risotto with Greens
Serves 4
A simple and hearty winter dinner!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/4-1/2 package of bacon, chopped
  2. 1/2 onion, chopped
  3. 2 cups of greens of your choice, shaved (kale, spinach, arugula)
  4. 2 cups of mushrooms of your choice
  5. 1/2 cup chopped nuts of your choice
  6. 1/4 cup of chicken stock or white wine to deglaze
  7. 1 drizzle of olive oil, if needed
  8. 1&1/2 cup Arborio Rice
  9. 5 cups chicken broth
  10. 1/4-1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Saute bacon, onion, greens, hazelnuts and mushrooms in a large sauce pan, until cooked through. If the mixture becomes too dry, add 1/4 cup of chicken broth or white wine to deglaze the pan. Remove from pan and place to the side. Melt 1 TBS of butter in the same pan and add the Arborio rice, cooking it for 5 minutes, or so, until its toasty. Now begin adding the chicken stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring regularly until the rice is completely cooked. This should take about 20-30 minutes. Add the reserved bacon mixture when you add the final cup of chicken stock. Continue stirring. Add the parmesan cheese. Continue to stir. The risotto is done when it starts to stick to the bottom.
Notes
  1. Any greens or combination of veggies can be used. Any dry cheese will work, as well. Have fun with your favorite flavor combinations!
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