Monday, 19 November 2007

Lentil Loaf with Carrots

I made this lentil loaf to go to a pot-luck on Sunday, and as I feared it is pretty much impossible to take a decent picture while trying to get food on the table in the middle of a chattering crowd in a room with little natural light. It didn't help that my subject matter was a brown rectangle.

However, I like this very much to eat. My sweetie is not so fond of it, but I think it has a good texture and flavour. It's also remarkably low in fat, which may be why it doesn't grab him. He loves him some fat; I am convinced he would eat plain butter if he could find a way to keep it from melting in his hands.

Once I baked this up in little individual pie plates, and froze them. That worked great; I just heated them up in the microwave, except for one time when we went to The Science Centre in Toronto. I took a piece with me just in case there was nothing in the cafeteria I could eat. Sure enough; there wasn't, and they refused to heat up my Lentil Loaf for me, so I ate it semi-frozen. It actually wasn't all that bad!

Lentil Loaf with CarrotsHere it is (below) sliced and served with Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy and Spicy Roasted Squash. Yes I know that plate is just calling out for some peas or something, but such are the hazards of pot-lucks and no green veg made an appearance.

Lentil Loaf, Mushroom Gravy and Roasted Squash2 large carrots
1 1/2 cups raw green or brown lentils
3 1/4 cups water
1 medium onion
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cups walnut or hazelnut pieces, or sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 teaspoon savory
1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon hot Hungarian paprika

Peel the carrots and cut them into slices. Put them in your handy rice-cooker (or a pot, if you must) with the lentils and water, and cook until the lentils are tender and the carrots very soft; i.e. when the rice cooker turns itself off.

Meanwhile, peel and finely chop the onion, and sauté it until soft in the oil.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

When the lentils and carrots are done, move them to a mixing bowl and add the onions. Mash well, and add the oats, nuts and seasonings. Mix well.

Press the mixture into a well-oiled or non-stick loaf pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until firm and lightly browned. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then turn it onto a plate to be served. Looks much better with some sort of garnish; any green veg to accompany it will be ideal. As already noted, the Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy goes well with it, and so does plain old ketchup.

I have baked it then frozen it, which works well. You could probably also freeze it then bake it. For the pot-luck, I mixed it up the night before and baked it just before serving it the next day (lunch time) and that also worked just fine.

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