Saturday, January 1, 2011
Recipe Report - Super Bowls
I read somewhere that the reason the Italians traditionally eat lentils on New Year's Day is that lentils look like little coins, and eating them on New Year's Day guarantees an ample supply of money throughout the year. I'm not that superstitious, but I like even the most flimsily-supported traditions, and the Better Homes & Gardens recipe report is rapidly becoming one as well, so for today's New Year's dinner I prepared a lentil recipe from page 102 of the January 2011 BHG magazine, called Chunky Vegetable-Lentil Soup.
I immediately became disenchanted with the recipe because it called for one cup of lentils. Give me a break. Lentils come in a bag. Who cooks a single cup? I ignored this part of the directions and put the whole bag in, then compensated with an extra can of vegetable broth. The weirdest thing about this recipe was the pound of mushrooms it called for. Mushrooms and lentils are not an obvious marriage, kind of like Michael Jackson and Lisa-Marie Presley. I mean, really! Anyway, I dutifully cut the mushrooms into quarters, since I couldn't find any small ones, and followed the recipe as faithfully as possible. It called for a cabbage garnish, but my hungry teenage son came down to the kitchen near the end of the cooking and nixed the idea of topping the lentil soup with anything remotely smelling of cabbage, so in the end I served it unadorned with a side of cornbread.
The verdict? Edible. Probably very nutritious. Not terribly interesting. I forgot to take a picture, but it looked pretty much like the photo from the magazine, with more lentils and without the garnish. The mushrooms were still pretty firm and their flavor didn't seem to jell with anything else in the soup (lentils, carrots, celery, onions and garlic). If I ever make this again, and I'm not saying I will, I think I would slice the mushrooms thin and brown them in the olive oil at the beginning with the onions and the garlic. I'll probably just go back to my regular Hoppin' John recipe for future New Year's dinners, but who knows? Maybe next year BHG will have a recipe for lentils with peanut butter or something really yummy.