As you know, I'm striving to cook with lentils more often this year -- and my obsession with Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty is making it very easy. The book has a section called pulses, which contains a number of interesting lentil recipes, but I actually found this recipe in the eggplant chapter.
After I made the broiled vegetable soup (a recipe I also found in Plenty), I became quite comfortable with throwing eggplant under the broiler and loved how the innards became so soft and creamy using this method. When I saw this colorful lentil dish, topped with broiled eggplant, I knew it would hit the spot.
The combination of tender lentils, sweet tomatoes, bright herbs, Cabernet vinegar, smoky eggplant, and cool, tangy Greek yogurt is mouthwatering. The number of textures and flavors weaved throughout this dish make it interesting and exciting. I thoroughly enjoyed this and can't wait to make it again.
If you think lentils are boring, this is your gateway recipe.
Lentils With Broiled Eggplant (adapted from Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London's Ottolenghi)
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2 medium eggplants
2 tablespoons Cabernet vinegar
Salt and pepper
4 small carrots, peeled
2 celery stalks
1 bay leaf
3 thyme sprigs
1/2 white onion
1 cup small dark lentils (such as Puy), rinsed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained (I used Muir Glen Reserve Harvest Sunset Diced Tomatoes)
1/2 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon roughly chopped parsley
1 tablespoon roughly chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon roughly chopped dill
Greek yogurt, for serving
Pierce eggplants in a few places with a small, sharp knife, place on a foil-lined sheet pan, and cook directly under the broiler for about 1 hour, turning with tongs about every 15 minutes, until eggplants are deflated and their skin is charred.
Remove eggplants from oven, and adjust oven temperature to 275 degrees.
Cut a slit down center of each eggplant, and scoop flesh out into a colander. Let drain for 15 minutes, then transfer flesh to a bowl and season with salt and pepper and 1/2 tablespoon of the vinegar.
While eggplant drains, cut one carrot and half of a celery stalk into large pieces, and place them in a medium saucepan. Add bay leaf, thyme, onion, and lentils to saucepan.
Cover with plenty of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Drain in a sieve. Discard carrot, celery, bay leaf, thyme sprigs, and onion.
Transfer lentils to a mixing bowl, and stir in remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of vinegar, 2 tablespoons of oil, and plenty of salt and pepper.
While lentils are simmering, dice remaining carrots and celery. Mix with tomatoes, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, brown sugar, and some salt in an 8- by 8-inch (or other similar-size) baking dish.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until carrots are tender but still firm. (I ended up pumping the oven up to 350 after 15 minutes to ensure the carrots would get tender in the last 5 minutes.)
Stir the lentils into the carrot mixture.
Then stir in the parsley, cilantro, and dill. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon lentils into serving dishes, and top with broiled eggplant.
Garnish each dish with a dollop of Greek yogurt, and serve.
What are your favorite lentil recipes?