Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Toothsome Turkish: Carrots and Lentils (Zeytinyagli Havuç)

This is a recipe that I flagged in a recent edition of Cooking Light. It looked like an interesting vegetarian entrée. Lentils have a high-level of protein and are worthy component of a vegetarian diet.

When I set out to make this recipe, I did not have any Aleppo pepper on hand. I do have an expansive spice shop near my work, but I was cooking this on a weekend and came up with a substitute. I instead used a combination of some Ancho chili pepper, Paprika, and Cumin. The recipe as it is written hardly cooks the carrots and they maintain their crunch. I’d personally prefer it with a softer carrot, and next time I’ll add them at the same time as the onion. After you get it started, this recipe basically cooks itself. It’s tasty, healthy, and the ingredients are inexpensive. It’s a good entrée option for a vegetarian, but it could also be served as a side dish next to a piece of meat.

Turkish Carrots and Lentils (Zeytinyagli Havuç)
(From Cooking Light, October, 2009)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon ground Aleppo pepper
1 pound carrots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
3/4 teaspoon sea salt, divided
3 cups water
1 cup uncooked dried green lentils
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup Greek-style yogurt (such as Fage)
Fresh dill sprigs (optional)

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion (and carrot, for a softer carrot); cook 9 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste and Aleppo pepper; cook 30 seconds. Stir in carrots and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Combine 3 cups water and lentils in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Uncover, increase heat to medium-high, and stir in onion mixture; cook 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover with a kitchen towel, and cool to room temperature. Serve with yogurt. Garnish with dill, if desired.

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