Lentils with caramelised onions
and a fresh parsley pesto.
Why not enhance the lentils’ natural iron content with yet another iron booster, parsley! Serve this lentils as a vegetarian main course on a white basmati rice or as a vegetarian side dish or salad.
What you’ll need for the lentils:
• ½ pack lentils (250 gr/8.82 oz.)
• 1-2 bay leaves
• ½ bunch of parsley finely chopped and a little paprika for serving
• a little red wine vinegar
For the caramelised onions:
• 8-10 onions cut in half, then thinly sliced
• 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
• 2 Tablespoons fresh butter
• a pinch of salt
For the pesto:
• 1 bunch parsley and a handful of basil (only the leaves)
• 2 thick slices of white bread (not the crust), soaked in water then squeezed out very well)
• 1 cup olive oil (not too full)
• 2-3 cloves of garlic (or less if you don’t like it that strong)
• the juice of one lemon
• 1 Tablespoon hot mustard
• salt and pepper
Boil the lentils in unsalted water , with just one or two bay leaves for aroma, until they’re al dente (about 20-30 minutes depending on the lentils). Strain the lentils, discard the water. Add salt to taste, pour in a little red wine vinegar and gently mix.
In a non-stick frying pan, first add the butter, then the onions, and sprinkle with sugar. The total frying time should be no less than 40-50 minutes. For the first half of the time the onions are slowly cooking and softening. Avoid stirring them too much while they soften, just shake the pan every now and then to turn them around.
After half time, turn the heat up gradually so that the onions start caramelising and subsequently – with the highest heat – crisp a bit at the end. The bottom of the frying pan should be dry and the onions crunchier and darker in colour.
Add the onions to the lentils and mix gently. Keep a few onions on the side for decoration.
Place all the pesto ingredients in a blender and process well (it’s very important that you’ve squeezed out all the water from the bread thoroughly beforehand). Place the pesto in the fridge for 10 minutes to thicken.
Add a spoonful of pesto to each plate next to the lentils or – if you’re serving the lentils in a platter – create a mound with the lentils and scoop a generous amount of pesto on top. Sprinkle some paprika and chopped parsley over the lentils.