Lucky Lentils

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So it’s that time of year again, when we start to look forward to our  potentially better, thinner, healthier selves. Lists will be compiled, resolutions will be made. It doesn’t hurt that we’re all probably still bloated from the big Christmas blow out, but before we commit to a complete life overhaul, there’s usually time for one last over-indulgence; New Year’s Eve.

New Year’s Eve is not a festival often associated with food nowadays, more with a rather panic stricken approach to finishing off the Christmas booze, but I don’t let that stop me from starting some meal based traditions in our house. You should too. In that vein, this is what we’ll be eating this New Year’s. Yes borrowed from both the Italian and Hungarian culture, but considering that they eat them at this time of year to encourage prosperity (due to their round, coin like shape) in the months to come, it is a bit of a no brainer. So the legends go, eat your lentils and your bank balance will thank you. But it goes further than that; your body will too. Lentils are full of high fibre, low fat protein; in fact they have the third highest protein levels of any plant based food source. They’ll help to stabilise your blood sugar levels and provide slow releasing energy, as well as topping up your iron levels, making them a very valuable food source for non-meat eaters. But the benefits don’t just stop there, their high levels of B vitamins means that they’ll boost your immune system and help to make sure that your digestive and nervous system are all functioning the way they should and their magnesiums levels will also help protect your heart. Considering a lot of us will be just about to put our bodies through a long, drink fuelled night followed by a hangover, forget the legends; these are probably reasons enough to make sure lentils on every table tonight.

New Year’s Lentils Recipe

4 fat cloves of garlic

6 anchovies

2 red onions

50 ml red wine

2 bay leaves

2 tsp Za’atar

500 ml stock either beef or veg

400g chopped kale

Flat leaved parsley and coriander to serve

Firstly, cook your lentils in enough boiling water to cover them, but without any seasoning.

Meanwhile, crush your garlic and leave to one side, then ‘melt’ your anchovies in some warm olive oil by bashing them a bit with a wooden spoon, then throw in the onions.

Leave to sweat for around 15 minutes, then add the garlic and red wine and turn up the heat. Allow the red wine to reduce by about a half, and chuck in the za’atar. By now, the pan should be giving off some delicious, mouth watering smells.

Add the cooked lentils with the stock ,and the sliced kale and allow to simmer until the kale is cooked through.

Serve covered with very roughly chopped herbs and with good quality sausages if you can’t resist, and of course the obligatory fizz. It is New Year’s after all. Enjoy!

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