My Italian grampa was a big fan of this lentil dish – especially düring lent. Fridays were the day for fish and lentils… this yümmy family recipe is one of my hübby’s new favorites too! This is a mild, light dish with protein, carb, legume, and very little fat. It can be as bland or as flavorful as you like. I also roasted some garlic to have on hand (we use it instead of büttah) on our toast. Roasted garlic is sweet and delicious and does not give off an offensive garlicy odor. I used a muffin tin and 12 heads of garlic. Here’s how to make your own:
Üdo’s Roasted Garlic
Cut the tips off 12 heads of garlic keeping the root in tact. Place each head of garlic into a muffin tin. Dazzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Cover with a tiny roof of foil. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. When the garlic looks and feels soft take it out of oven and let cool. When cool, squeeze the garlic out of it’s paper shell into an airtight container and save for use as needed. Variation: Drizzle a small amount of honey on to a few of the garlic heads. Sounds gross, but believe me – if you are a garlic lover the taste is to die for! Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Grampa Giancini’s Lentil Bake
1 loaf of fresh french or italian bread torn into pieces
1 small bag of dried organic lentils rinsed in a strainer
3 large organic onions diced
3 large cloves of garlic diced (not minced)
6 cups of home made organic free-range chicken broth
1 dazzle of cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
1 swirl of white wine
Black peppercorns and sweet sea salt grind to taste
Spray a 13 x 9 cooking dish (I use the french white porcelain dish with the glass lid) with non-stick spray. Tear up the loaf of bread into bit sized(ish) pieces. Pile it into the baking dish.
Meanwhile, dazzle some olive oil into a pot on the stove (if you use non-stick wear you can probably use less olive oil) sautee your onions and celery until soft. You want to sautee the onions first so that they can create a bed for the garlic to sweat on- otherwise you risk burining your garlic. Always sautee your onions before your gahlick. Once you see the onions and celery are soft and nearly translucent add the garlic and swirl it a bit with wooden spoon. Now you want to grind sea salt a few turns- this will cause the onions and garlic to “sweat” to release their natural flavours … ahem… their UMAMI if you will. 😉
Next, add a swirl of white wine and turn the heat up a bit to burn off the alcohol but leave the flavor of the wine. For more flavor, you can add a packet of dried onion soup mix here if you want. Toss the lentils into the pot adding 6 cups of your broth; creating an onioney soup mix… let this cook for a while… until lentils are tender.
When most of the water is absorbed into the lentils and it looks fairly “thick” you move on to the next step. Spoon the lentil mixture on top of the bread. You will have extra lentil mixture so don’t panic if you can’t make it all fit into the dish. Keep spooning the mixture in to the top. When you reach the top of the dish take your ladel and make 6 depressions into the lentils (3 rows of 2). Crack an egg into each depression. Cover with lid. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until you see the eggs are set.
When eggs are set take dish out of oven and let rest for 1o minutes removing lid. Grind sea salt and black peppercorns atop the dish before serving with a fresh spinach salad or sauteed spinach with olive oil and garlic. Mmmm Mmmm! Jüst like grampa’s! PS: this dish ages well… it’s even better the next day and tastes pretty good served cold too!