I had always wondered why lentils would be served to guests. I have tried them prior and was just not impressed with the bland flavoring. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I pulled out my freshly bought lentils for one more old fashion cooking try. I boiled up a cup for a different recipe added some butter for a tentative taste (I mean what doesn’t taste good with butter?). This batch was what converted me into a lentil lover! The lentils were startchy, a little crunchy from the cooking till the water was ALL gone and then some, to buttery melt in your mouth.
The recipe I did fix from that batch is not this. However this recipe is excellent as well!
Cut up fat meat in pieces larger than medium and wash them, and put them in the pot and fry them. Throw three pounds of peeled, washed, picked-over lentils on two pounds of it and a sufficiency of Swiss chard, washed and cut up four fingers (long), and add four times it’s quantity of water to it. If it is necessary to add water during the night, do so. Then adjust the salt and cover the top of the pot, and put it in the tannur overnight, and when it is morning, take it up. Pound garlic and dry coriander for it, as much as needed, and put them into the lentils, then stew it. Put finely pounded mastic cumin, and caraway on it; and lemon juice for him who wants that, for this is according to desire.
Rodison, pp. 371
1 lb. chuck roast 1 bunch Swiss chard 1 cup lentils
1 tsp salt, cumin, caraway, coriander 1 Tbs garlic
4 C. water (or preferred meat stock)
Gather all of your ingredients in one area, so that time is not wasted wondering back and forth and doing small tasks. Part of the prepping is to de-ribb the chard and cut into smaller ribbons. To do this, cut along the main stem in the leaf on either side to separate the edible portion for the tough chewy, not so tasty, rib. Throw away the rib portion. Cut the leaves into horizontal strips roughly the size of 2 fingers. The leaves will cook down a lot!
The chuck was cut into pieces. Washing was not necessary with today’s modern packing techniques. In period though washing would be a necessity to keep dirty, ash etc from becoming ingrained in fresh meat. The meat was then fried in olive oil a little salt.
I put 1 cup of lentils into a clay pot with 4 cups of water.
The swiss chard leaves were separated from the leaf rib and sliced into ribbons, roughly 1 inch wide and 3 inches long.
Push the chard under the water, or if there is not enough water in the clay pot do not hesitate to add another cup or two. Remember this is a slow cooking many hour dish. The water will evaporate out but you don’t want the leaves or the lentils to burn so make sure there is a plenitude of liquid! (If chicken or duck stock is desired over water by all means add that instead!) Check the state of the liquids in the pot every 1.5 hours, just to make sure nothing is drying out.
The chard was then put in the clay pot with the lentils and waters then the fried meat was added along with the spices.
The entire dish was then mixed together and put into the oven for 4 hours at 350.
This is the bowl for dinner just served from the lay pot. It was hot steaming and melt in your mouth! I would say this is a more fall/winter dish but I was so hungry when I ate it I really just called it delicious!