03.29.10: dinner (thoughts on comfort foods, braised lentils edition)

Braised Beluga Lentils with Mixed Vegetables and Greek Yogurt

While I’m one to relish the many ways to walk around New York and observe others who are traversing on foot, there are few days when that’s more undesirable than on a rainy day…and you’ve forgotten your umbrella.  I waited yesterday for the M60 with an air of patience I normally do not posses, mostly because I knew that acquiescing to any bus line other than my preferred one would have condemned me to a long walk uphill in the rain.   It was really only an encounter with a man who was content to carry on a prolonged conversation with himself that led me to raise my arm for a cab, especially as it was clear that a M60 was by no means coming anytime soon.

One must pick their battles, anyway.  Being alone at a bus station for a prolonged period with such a person…well, that was an adequate justification for ultimately hailing down a cab, no?

Fast forward to coming home to a pan of this goodness:  who would ever think that lentils, veggies, nonfat Greek yogurt and just a little bacon would result in such a simple, satisfying meal that evokes comfort food without the use of a big slab of meat, a piling of pasta or even potatoes?  The pancetta, I wager, is what really gives this dish its oomph–it’s the proverbial piece of sky that falls into a bowl of soup in Shel Silverstein’s “Sky Seasoning” and turns an OK dish into one that renders its eater completely ravenous.

We’ve mentioned Anne Burrell’s braising technique before and heartily endorse it (albeit using vegetables of your choosing), but it certainly does not have to play second fiddle to pork, beef, chicken or lamb.  Grating some fresh garlic and maybe adding a dash of tandoori spice blend elevates the yogurt to a flavorful sauce of sorts, and when married to the warm lentils, everything becomes a creamy and indulgent dish that you wished was offered everywhere and will prompt you to make it for yourself a few times a month at least.

Comfort food that consists of mostly vegetables–would would have thought that I’d ever be advocating that?  Wonders never cease.

  1. Tracy said:

    We added just a little bacon to our farfalle with roasted vegetables last night (also tonights leftovers—which I can’t wait for). Adding lentils on top of that would be heavenly. You’ve given me an idea…now if only we had greek yogurt…

  2. Anyone who references Shel Silverstein is a good egg, in my book. I adore lentils, so I’m trying this soon!

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