Monday, March 1, 2010

Braised lentils with Winter Greens and a Fried Egg

I'm not Southern, not in the least bit.  I do not eat almost anything considered "Southern," I hate being called ma'am, and, well, I'm from Wisconsin.  Tonight's dinner is probably as close to Southern as I will ever get, and the only thing that made it "Southern" were the steamed greens.  I bought a bag (notice the Wisconsin accent right there) of "steamin' greens" from Trader Joe's to cover this part of it.  I might consider this the perfect winter meal: warm and comforting, not too expensive, super healthy, and delicious.  Too bad today was a beautiful, almost spring day, the winter comfort wasn't really necessary.  However, my schedule is such that I can't cook a real meal on Tuesdays, which means if I want something specific to the weather on Tuesday, I have to cook it Monday, and since this makes 2 servings, I might as well eat it today.  Oh well, the point is it's delicious.  I'll do my best to compute the cost, I'm sure it's over a dollar, but that's okay this week :).

The recipe jumped out at me on my google reader, it came from Serious Eats; this recipe is copied straight from there. No, I am not genius enough to come up with this myself.  Both the lentils and the greens were so flavorful, and the fried egg on top was a great addition, even though I'm (still) terrible at frying eggs.  The yoke is never runny enough.

Also, I'm not sure (if anyone could answer this for me, it would be great) why the lentils are considered "braised."  It never actually specified when to add them (I added that myself based on context clues), but as far as I (and wikipedia) knows braising is reserved for meat.  And this doesn't even mirror the process described there, the only thing special about it is cooking lentils with red wine (best concept EVER).

I do need to start posting my own recipes, otherwise this blog is somewhat useless (except for the fact that I filter a lot of recipes for you, to bring you the delicious grad student friendly meals, and try to throw ethnic twists in it).  This one is especially great since it makes food for 2 (though I could definitely see only one person eating it).  And of course, it is vegetarian.

Braised Lentils with Winter Greens and a Fried Egg

- serves 2 -
Adapted from Last Night's Dinner.
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup French green lentils
1 bunch winter greens, such as kale, chard, collards, etc.
1 shallot, peeled and minced
1/2 cup red wine
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/8 teaspoon red chili flakes, or to taste
Splash of lemon juice or sherry vinegar
salt and black pepper
2 eggs
1. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and saute until soft, 2-3 minutes. Add 1 cup water and the red wine, bring to a boil, add lentils, and simmer, covered, until the lentils are tender but not mushy, 30 minutes or so (this took me more than 30 minutes, closer to 45, maybe I should have soaked them?). Add more water as necessary. Season to taste with salt.
2. In the meantime, wash the greens and slice the leaves away from the stems and roughly chop the leaves. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil, garlic, and chili flakes in a saucepan or large skillet until fragrant, then add the leaves along with 1/4 cup or so of water and a pinch of salt. Cover, turn the heat to medium-low, and allow the leaves to steam as the water evaporates, tasting for tenderness and adding more water as necessary. Finish with lemon juice or vinegar to taste, and perhaps more olive oil.
3. When the lentils and greens are nearing completion, heat the remaining oil in a small non-stick skillet and fry the eggs sunny-side-up, about 3 minutes over medium-low heat, until the whites are set but the yolk is still runny.
Note: I actually fried the egg, so I added a flip, which overcooked it slightly, but at least I'm sure it won't make me sick.
4. Serve the greens on a bed of lentils, topped with the egg and fresh black pepper.

Oops, the cost: using lentils that were 44 cents a cup, Trader Joe's wine, and pre-bagged mixed greens, I'd estimate it at about $3.50 for two servings.  But it's worth it.

1 comment:

  1. Braising typically just refers to cooking with a low, slow, wet heat, so I guess you could consider the lentils to be braised here (although I too think of it as a cooking technique solely for meat).

    My secret to great fried eggs: spray nonstick pan with cooking spray and put it on the high end of medium-high heat. Wait until the pan is hot, then crack the eggs into the pan, wait just until the whites start to lift from the pan, then flip, cooking just until the whites are set.

    This recipe sounds really good... unfortunately I have no red wine... hmm, perhaps this situation needs to be remedied...