Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Braised Lentils with Bacon and Shallots, Poached Carrots, Red Pepper & Arugula Steaks

Creamy carrots poached in olive oil and fresh thyme, green lentils with shallots and a salty 'bacon' bite. Savory red pepper-tempeh cakes with peppery arugula and spiced with loads of dried herbs.

Braised Lentils with Bacon and Shallots

1 tbl extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1/2 carrot, minced
1/4 tsp pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 slices Smart Life vegan bacon, small dice
2 tbl dry white wine
1 cup green or brown lentils
2 cups no-chicken vegetable broth
1 rosemary sprig
1/4 tsp salt

In a dutch oven or large saute pan, heat the oil and saute the shallots and carrots with pepper until they start to soften, 5 minutes. Add the garlic and bacon saute 4 minutes more to crisp up the bacon. Add the white wine and deglaze the bottom of the pan, scraping up any bits. Add the lentils, broth and rosemary sprig and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Cook for 20-30 minutes until the lentils are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated. Once ready to eat, season with salt and remove the rosemary sprig.

**Salting the lentils before hand leads to a very tough, dry lentil. Make sure to add salt to the dish afterwords for a tender lentil.

Red Pepper & Arugula Steaks

4 tbl extra virgin olive, divided
1 shallot, minced
1 cup minced red pepper
1 celery stalk plus leaves, minced
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried basil
pinch red pepper flakes
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 Smart Life vegan bacon slices, minced
1 square tempeh, crumbled
1/4 cup packed, minced arugula
1 tbl tamari
1 tbl vegan worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup Italian style breadcrumbs

In a medium saute pan, heat 2 tbl of oil and cook the shallots, red pepper and celery until they start to soften, 5 minutes. Add the pepper, salt, oregano, parsley, basil, red pepper flakes, garlic and vegan bacon pieces and saute to brown and crisp the bacon, 4 minutes.
In a food processor, grind up the tempeh.
Remove from the heat and add in the remaining ingredients and the tempeh. Stir to combine fully.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Lay out a long piece of foil and lay the tempeh mixture down to create a log. Make it about 6 inches long. Wrap up the tempeh in the foil as tightly as possibly. Double wrap it with more foil.
Submerge it fully in the boiling water and cook it for 40 minutes.
Remove the tempeh loaf from the foil and cut 1/2" slices. Pan fry in the remaining 2 tbl of oil until the steaks have browned on both sides. Serve over braised lentils.

Poached Carrots in Olive oil and Thyme

2 cups extra virgin olive oil
2 carrots, cut into 2" slices
4 thyme sprigs, whole
1 tbl fresh thyme leaves
coarse sea salt

Combine the oil, carrots and thyme sprigs in a small sauce pot. Make sure there is enough oil to cover the carrots fully. Add more oil if necessary. Over very low, poach the carrots until they read a temperate of 220. You do not want the oil to simmer or boil, just cook very very slowly for 30 minutes. Once done, remove the carrots from the oil and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves and salt.

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