Thursday, January 23, 2014

Snowy Day Lentils

Beautiful and Awful
Tuesday was a real pain in the rear day. It started snowing just before 7am and the temperature dropped through the day with a nasty snow storm settling in above us, midafternoon temperatures in the low teens and winds in the 15-20 knot range. By the time it was said and done, we had about 14" of new powder that drifted to 3' in places thanks to the wind roaring straight out of the north.

We gave up at the restaurant around mid-afternoon when it became apparent that the storm was only going to get worse through the course of dinner. On my way out the door, I grabbed a couple of cups of lentils, knowing that we had a side of steelhead trout at home. I wanted to serve steelhead on the lentils in the style of the French bistro classic saumon aux lentilles. Lentils are in that class of simple and delicious comfort food that are perfect on a blizzardy day.

Comfort on a Freezing Day: Lentils Happily Bubbling Away
Being a chef, I have access to fresh herbs at all times of the year, even when there is snow on the ground and I am not ashamed to say that I also grabbed some fresh parsley, basil, and thyme when I purloined the lentils.

The lentils have mirepoix (onions, carrots, and celery), garlic, herbs (parsley, thyme, bay, and basil), a little whole grained mustard, a bit of tomato paste, and a bit of smoked paprika. The paprika is to mimic the smoked pork I might have otherwise put in: I wanted to keep these lentils low in fat.

White Wine on a Cold Day?
We just don't drink white wine in the winter, so this bottle is notable. It was already open and if I'm not going to have a Pinot Noir with my lentils and fish, a high-acid Oregon white is where I would head next. This delicious Pinot Gris tasted of peaches and cantaloupe with lemon and minerals.

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