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Lentil Turkey Chili

 

Leftovers Chili | The Food Poet

We eat leftovers. They wheedle their way into the handwritten weekly menu as proof that no matter how busy a week becomes we can find homemade food at the ready to ably feed ourselves. They provide the backbone to a quick lunch with substance. But, leftovers get a bit of a bad rap, don’t they? Just last week over tea with a friend, she recounted that she leaves the leftovers for her husband, something I have done and depending on the dish, will continue to do as I firmly fall into the camp of some foods don’t get better with time.

We rely on leftovers- they fill in the gaps of one of us at band practice and the other taking a class. But, sometimes I just can’t be bothered with having the same meal several times in rote repetition like a record with a scratch that plays the same bit of track that you enjoyed the first time until it becomes annoying. What’s remarkable is that over the span of one night’s digestion, compelling cuisine takes on a second class status as leftovers. I  have discovered, along with other home cooks, the way to make them the prep for tomorrow’s lunch.

Here’s the thing with leftovers and the aversion people bring to the brown bagged remnants, the quart sized-jar in the fridge or casserole dish with stair-stacked holes cut into the food. And, I want to be careful how I word this, the attitude to leftovers is indicative of first world problems. Where else is extra food considered something avoidable? When I worked at a restaurant, while putting myself through school, we wore metal pins on our uniforms, as a sign of our flair. I could have easily donned one that read “world’s worst up-seller” since the portion sizes served at the restaurant already were double what people could actually eat and more often than not, it pained me to scrape perfectly good food into the compost bin because a patron had met their fill.

Leftovers Chili | The Food Poet

Today, I want to talk about a way we can donate more than just a renewed sense of mindfulness toward our leftovers, instead focusing on an important cause. Nicole of The Giving Table invited people to donate their blog post today to the cause of “The Lunchbox Fund,” an initiative to feed South Africa. Encouraged to blog about lunch, and since my lunches consist of leftovers, here we are.

Did you know 65% of all South African children live in poverty. As evidenced through research by No Kid Hungry in the United States, we know that nourished children will do better in school by helping them stay alert and be able to retain what they are learning. I recently learned that nearly 20% of all children in South Africa are orphans, with approximately 1.9 Million of those children orphaned as a result of HIV and AIDS. These kids are left over from dire family circumstances. It makes me profoundly sad tinged with possibility.

Groups like The Lunchbox Fund identify schools or form partnerships with locally based NGOs or community organizations in order to evaluate and identify schools. They fund distributors to buy and deliver food, monitor the feeding scheme, implement a Project Manager, and deliver reports back to them for evaluation. In essence, they are helping radically address the food supply system for these children who might otherwise get looked over. Can I encourage you to consider that if you give $10, it will feed a child for a day. Giving overflows from a generous heart, so the amount isn’t as important as the practice and the response to the problem.  Consider giving to The Lunchbox Fund and forgoing lattes for a week- doing good might just be the ultimate morning jumpstart.

It’s almost time for lunch and leftovers are on the menu. Join me for a bowl of Lentil Turkey Chili?

Leftovers Chili | The Food Poet

LENTIL TURKEY CHILI

This chili is perfect for serving on rainy or cold days (not that I’m complaining – we needed the rain that turned San Francisco into a wet wonderland this past weekend). This chili is a bit of a conglomeration of various leftovers. Taco Tuesdays makes extra ground meat than we can eat that night, so that gets added to the pot. The extra brown rice we make at the beginning of the week gets warmed and doled out into the bowls so the chili gets ladled over it. Leftover chicken or veggie stock gets used here too and unlike many recipes that only call for 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, this is a terrific recipe to use a whole jar of it or any tomato paste leftovers you might have lurking in the fridge. For garnishes, use what you have on hand. I give a few ideas of what’s in our fridge, but chili is open to creativity (ever try pulsing a chipotle from adobo sauce or adding some of the sauce to chili? Smoky goodness, right there.) These repurposed ingredients will feed you for lunch all week with enough to go in the freezer or to get repurposed another way.

YIELD: 6-8 servings

1 teaspoon grapeseed oil plus 1 tablespoon
1 red bell pepper
2 cups green lentils
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
tomato paste
1 cup water
32 ounce jar chopped tomatoes
1 cup cooked ground turkey
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat the oven to 425 and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Rub a red bell pepper with oil and roast it in the oven for 20 minutes or until you see the skin char slightly. Cool the red bell pepper. Once cooled, remove the stem and seeds inside. Place the bell pepper in a container with high sides and a deep well. Blend with an immersion blender until pureed.

While the bell pepper is roasting, pick through the lentils, discarding any small rocks. In a large heavy pot, cover the lentils with about 3-4 inches of water and bring to a boil. Lower the temperature to simmer. Cover and cook them for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, place a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat for 1 minute. Drizzle in 1 tablespoon of grape seed oil and swirl the pan until the bottom is coated. Add the onions to the pan and brown them for about 4 minutes. Add in the garlic, 3 minutes in.

Drain the lentils from their cooking liquid. Transfer the lentils back to their pot along with the onion, garlic and vegetable stock. Place the pot over medium low heat. Whisk together 3 tablespoons of water with the tomato paste until smooth, adding the rest of the water until you’ve reached one cup. Pour it into the pot once you’ve got a thick red sauce. Open your jar of canned chopped tomatoes and break apart the tomatoes with your fingers over the pot, pouring in the jarred liquid too. Add the cooked ground meat to the pot, carefully breaking up any initial clumps with a large wooden spoon.  Stir in the chili powder, cayenne and salt. Cover the pot and let the chili simmer so the liquid reduces and it thickens up. Add the bell pepper puree to the chili.

Serve with brown rice. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream (or labneh or creme fraiche or Greek yogurt or…), grated leftover nubs of cheese (sharp cheddar works wonderfully) and minced scallions.

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Recipes

Spanish Lentil Mushroom Stew

The meal after the Meal- I have been contemplating Black Friday in a new way this year. None of the scheming and planning for wee morning hour wake-up calls to shop. Oh, no. As home cooks across the country are putting into action this week’s game plan for Thanksgiving, I’ve set my eyes on Friday.

Thanksgiving should require its own lexicon. It starts on Sunday when the candies get made. Tuesday might as well be dedicated to pie day as pie crusts get filled with gooey pecans and syrup or with spiced pumpkin puree. Wednesday becomes the day for making any side dishes that can sit overnight to let the flavors meld. And we all know what Thursday means, or at least our belts know what it means.

This year I wanted to take a different approach to the day after Thanksgiving, usually a repeat of leftover favorites refashioned into day-after delivery or served up in the array most beloved by each participant. This year, while in Texas, I wanted to bring a bit of California to the table or at least, the way we usually eat chez nous. It saddens me to think that while my Dad was alive I didn’t really get a chance or make the effort to cook for him. I know that one Thanksgiving I had a chance to contribute a salad, done my way and he, the antagonist of “rabbit food” ate it and enjoyed it. And cooking is after all one of my love languages I can imagine many of us speak to the people we love.

So, in the spirit of bringing California to Texas, I’ve decided to make the meal vegetarian. It’s not some sort of political statement, as I can put down smoked brisket with the best of them, but it reminds me of the home and style of living and eating we have cultivated in California. This opportunity arrives for me to make a succulent feast of fresh foods bursting with seasonal flavor. After all of the tryptophan and Red Rooster imbibing of Thursday, Friday is a chance to turn a corner in a different direction.

_________________________________

B L A C K   F R I D A Y   M E N U

Appetizer
Sweet Potato Crostini with Celery Parsley Salad, Lemony Yogurt and Pomegranate Seeds

Salad
Massaged Kale Salad with Persimmons, Cranberries, Chevre & Toasted Almonds

Main
Spanish Lentil Mushroom Stew
Grilled Organic Polenta

Dessert
Yogurt Pudding with Spiced Pear Compote

___________________________________

I kept my tastebuds open and exploring the past few months, testing recipes and ideas of foods that would work for this Black Friday Feast  and be family-approved. This Spanish Lentil Mushroom Stew below by Michael Natkin completely bowled me over. The sherry vinegar and paprika give a heartiness to the mushrooms and lentils. Below, the stew is served with sliced Early Girl tomatoes and basil. Since they are not quite in season right now, we will be foregoing them and I might opt to offer some quick-pickled onions or some such notion. Who knows, maybe this is a family tradition in the making?

Spanish Lentil and Mushroom Stew

 

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SPANISH LENTIL MUSHROOM STEW
From “Herbivoracious” by Michael Natkin. Reprinted with permission.

YIELD: 4-6 servings

5 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 small white onion, finely diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

kosher salt

2 cups French green lentils, rinsed and picked over

4 cups water

1 pound Crimini mushrooms, quartered lengthwise

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

12 big basil leaves, rolled into a bundle and cut into thin strips (chiffonade)

freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic and a pinch of salt and saute until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the lentils and water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, until lentils are tender but not falling apart, about 20 minutes. Drain.

2. While the lentils are cooking, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in your largest skillet over high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the mushrooms in a single layer and sauté, turning occasionally, until well browned, about 5 minutes. If your skillet isn’t big enough to hold the mushrooms in one layer, work in batches. Season the mushrooms with 1/4 teaspoon salt.

3. Put the lentils in a mixing bowl and add the smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon of the sherry vinegar. Taste and adjust seasoning.

4. Toss the cherry tomatoes and basil with the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, remaining 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

5. To serve, divide the lentils among bowls. Top with the mushrooms, and top the mushrooms with the tomato salad. Give the whole thing a grind of black pepper and another dusting of paprika if you like.

 

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Fish Burger with Lentil Dip and Cucumber Yogurt

FISH RECIPES- Fish Burger with Lentil Dip and Cucumber Yogurt

My first cookbook giveaway is over – congrats Routhie! I will be sending you your own copy of “Blood Sugar” to enjoy. And in the spirit that everyone is a winner, I’m posting a recipe from the cookbook with a thanks to the publisher New Holland.

Say this with me: fish burger with lentil dip and cucumber yogurt.

I just returned from the pre-eminent food show for the natural and organic food industry and three nights out of five, I found myself hankering for fish. In a sea of non-GMO, organic, natural foods, fish and vegetables were what I craved regularly.

This sandwich puts other fish sandwiches to shame for the simple facts: variety of flavors and textures. The crispety crunch of the roasted garlic toast contrasting with the tangy yogurt sauce and smooth savory lentil dip played well with the fish. This recipe is typical of Chef Michael Moore’s style, featuring fresh herbs incorporated in to make a full-flavored without being full fat entree that’s pretty exciting.

Enjoy. Every Monday needs a bit of oomph.

fish burger with lentil dip and cucumber yogurt

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FISH BURGER WITH LENTIL DIP AND CUCUMBER YOGURT
Recipe by Chef Michael Moore from “Blood Sugar”
Reprinted with permission & with a few adaptations

I didn’t use canned lentils, so I’m giving the measurements below for what we did use, which was dried lentils. Also, we didn’t find any wholemeal soy and linseed rolls, but there was a beautiful loaf of roasted garlic bread that caught our eye instead, which I think worked out great. This sandwich is tall and if you’re like me and have a small mouth, the sliced bread worked better than a roll. Also, I encourage you to consider eating this as an open faced sandwich which, we enjoyed at several meals. The recommended serving size of each sandwich has two fish patties on the toasted bread, which works out to neat single patty portions if you cut the bread between the patties.

FISH BURGERS

1 lb. firm white fish filets, boned and skinless

2 egg whites

½ bunch cilantro, chopped

1 teaspoon harissa paste

pinch of salt

 

MOROCCAN LENTIL DIP

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 clove of garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon, ground cumin seeds

1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds

pinch of ground fennel seeds

1 cup dry brown lentils

1 ¾ cup water

 

CUCUMBER YOGURT

½ Persian cucumber, grated

1 cup non-fat plain yogurt

juice of 1 lemon

 

TO SERVE

Spinach

Sliced roasted garlic sourdough bread

  1. Chill the fish and egg whites in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  2. Using a blender, process the fish and harissa until smooth. Add egg whites and season with salt and pepper. Add the cilantro and blend will. Form 8 small patties from the mixture and make sure to coat with cooking spray. Cook over medium heat for 3 minutes on each side or until cooked in a nonstick pan. They should look golden and firm to the touch.
  3. Bring 1 ¾ cup water to boil and add in 1 cup dried lentils. Bring down to a simmer and cover to cook for 20-25 minutes or until soft.
  4. Make the Moroccan dip by cooking the garlic in oil for a few minutes and then stir in the spices. Heat for another minute and add in the cooked and drained lentils and 1/4 cup of water. Simmer for 10 minutes or until liquid has evaporated and lentils are thick. Cool slightly and then puree until smooth. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  5. On a box grater, grate the cucumber and drain out any excess liquid. Add grated cucumber to a small bowl of yogurt, lemon juice and mint. Stir.
  6. Toast your bread slices.
  7. Assemble your fish sandwiches by laying down two slices of toast and then smearing one side with the lentil dip. Lay down the mixed greens or spinach and two fish patties on top. Finish with a dollop of the yogurt.

SERVING SUGGESTION: Try these with some roasted parsnip fries for a delightful healthier fish and chips combination.

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Lentil Croquettes & Spinach Salad with Dill Mustard Sauce

SALAD RECIPES- Lentil Croquette Spinach Salad

I don’t know about you, but in our household we sure love a quick and easy, tasty and healthy dinner for Monday nights. Did that descriptor leave you a bit winded too?

how to make vegetarian burgers with no grains

Well, that’s about how it feels to race home after racing all day at work catching up on weekend communications. Monday is the day to just barrel through, chin up, smile fixed.  Monday nights are meant for quick and easy.

vegetarian burger how to

Did you know there is also a whole movement of people who participate in “Meatless Mondays“? It’s kind of fabulous really. Our household is meat-friendly, but incorporating more vegetables and legumes into our everyday eating is something we take into account.

how to make vegetarian burgers

I give you these lentil croquettes. Take note, these croquettes are not meant to be sandwiched between bread slices or a bun. Fork tender and served on a bed of spinach leaves with grilled onions, they make the salad! In fact, I really was playing against the idea of having breadcrumbs or grains as a binder. They are chock full of veggies and protein. I bet they would be delicious served atop couscous or steamed barley for a whole grain option.

how to make lentil croquettes

We found that our quick and easy dinner option became the ideal grab and go leftover the next day too…

how to make lentil croquettes

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Lentil Croquettes & Spinach Salad with Dill Mustard Sauce

YIELD: 6 lentil croquettes

  • 1 carrot, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 zucchini, minced
  • 3 sweet peppers, seeded and minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 package cooked lentils from Trader Joe’s
  • 1 large egg
  • cayenne, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound organic spinach leaves, rinsed
Mash lentils with hands or you could use a food processor. Add spices and taste. Addegg to the lentil mixture and then fold in the minced vegetables. Mix.

Heat a medium sized saute pan for croquettes over medium high heat and add oil. Once the pan is hot, add two croquettes and saute for 2 minutes. Then flip and saute on the other side for 2 minutes. They should have a nice slightly charred crust on each side after being cooked.

Place fully cooked lentil croquettes on a paper towel covered plate, to help sop up some of the oil and dab the top with paper towel.

photo of onion

NATHAN’S CARAMELIZED ONIONS

  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 T Braggs apple cider vinegar

Heat saute pan for onions, over medium high heat. Add oil. Then add onion slices and garlic.

caramelizing onions

Saute low and slow until the onions are almost translucent, about 4 minutes. Then add the apple cider vinegar to finish off the onions.

caramelizing onions

Saute for 2 more minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.

 

dill mustard finishing sauce

DILL MUSTARD SAUCE

  • 3 oz. plain sheep’s milk yogurt
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. whole grain mustard
  • 1/8 kosher salt
  • 2 T freshly chopped dill

sauce for vegetarian burgers

Whisk together sauce ingredients and set aside. Once lentil croquettes are ready, place croquette over bed of spinach, add caramelized onions and drizzle sauce.

 

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Chicken Sausage with Lentils and Salami

SAUSAGE RECIPES- Meaty Lentils

Two weeks before the time my finger would find a circlet of white gold wrapped around it, the chaos and nervous jitters had come and been communicated through. What remained were the small embellishments for the party celebrating a newly cemented us. Weddings often bring people together in unexpected ways and one of the pieces of wisdom I have received this year is if someone reaches out, reach back.

I don’t possess a superwoman complex though I will be the first to admit sometimes you want things done a certain way. Just so. Tie the green ribbon so it faces the front of the wedding program so guests can see words to sing along inside on the back page. I call it detailed. Nathan calls it perfectionist. That’s pretty true too. Going into planning a wedding, I decided to act as if this was the biggest tradeshow, event or party I’d ever planned. It helped a bunch *and saved a mint.* Early on, the devil kept me company in those details I obsessed over and slowly I found them drift away. The details that remained were the ones I knew were manageable with help. As a wise woman told me in grief support group this year, if someone reaches out, reach back.

Nathan’s sister has a way with a pen and when she asked if she could help, I quickly responded. With my workdays at full throttle and the wedding tasks acting as evening projects, I knew whatever I made needed to be quick, filling but also energizing.

Enter chicken sausage with lentils and salami and apple radish relish.

We cut and tied ribbons for the wedding programs in the span of an hour while Nathan’s sister wrote in her elegant script, penning names on all our table place cards. Dinner satisfied and our project was easily completed. I think one of the best things about having people help you is the shared experience. A memory to file away in the memory bank for later. I will remember with fondness Nathan’s sister, all the spools of sage green ribbon and her clever cursive script on mango colored place cards.

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Chicken Sausage with Lentils and Salami

  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 2 ¼ cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 chicken apple sausage
  • 1/4 cup salami

Set the water on high heat. Once it reaches a rolling boil, add the sage, garlic powder, onion powder, and lentils and cover. Turn heat down to simmer for 15 minutes. Don’t add salt yet. While the lentils are cooking, chop the chicken sausage and salami. When you have about five minutes left on the lentils, begin to heat up the sausage in a separate pan. Once the lentils are done and the sausage is cooked, combine in a separate dish with the salami. Serve with a side of brown rice for a hearty dish.

Apple Radish Relish

1 honeycrisp apple, diced
3 radishes, diced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fig vinaigrette
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Dice the apple and radishes. Mix together the fig vinaigrette with Dijon mustard and olive oil. Drizzle vinaigrette over the slaw and toss to combine. Serve atop Meaty Lentils as a slightly sweet, piquant condiment.

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Lentil Quinoa with Kale

Lentil Quinoa with Kale

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Lentil Quinoa with Kale

I came up with this dish a few weeks ago and found it so yummy that it was my vegetarian contribution to the Thanksgiving meal yesterday. No turkey, no tryptophan, no troubles! What I discovered in making this recipe is how marvelous the kale cooking liquid is. I actually reserved all of it, using some of it in the recipe below, and then freezing the rest for a rainy day. I love the savory green flavor that is a mighty good stand-in for stock. 

1 bunch curly kale, ribs removed, rinsed, chiffonade-cut
6 cups water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 leek, rinsed and thinly sliced
1/2 teaspon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup rinsed quinoa
1/2 cup brown lentils

Plunge the greens into a large pot of boiling salted water, cook them for 10 minutes. Drain the kale into a bowl, reserving 3 cups of the kale cooking water. Drizzle and swirl the olive oil into a skillet set over medium heat. Add the leeks, garlic and pepper flakes stirring occasionally for 7 minutes or until the leeks have softened. Add the kale and 1 cup of the reserved cooking liquid reserved cooking water to the garlic mixture. Cook for 15 minutes. Pour the remaining reserved kale cooking liquid into a saucepan. Bring to a boil and add the quinoa and lentils into the saucepan. Add the kale and any liquid in the skillet to the lentils and quinoa. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until the lentils are cooked through and most of the liquid has cooked out.

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Lentil Quinoa with Kale -0958