Monday, April 19, 2010

Warm Lentil Salad with Pork (or Chicken or Tofu)

Invented this last week when I realized that I had few leftovers in the house and would be leaving for a couple days. If I hadn't come up with something yummy and fun, Matt would have eaten cereal or shells and cheese all weekend. This is great out of the pan, and heats up (according to Matt) very well. I happened to have a couple boneless pork loin chops in the freezer I used up for this, but you could use pieces of chicken or even tofu.

Makes 4-6 servings for dinner or lunch
  • 3/4 pound green lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound pork, cut into bite-sized chunks (or chicken thighs/breasts or tofu)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (or white wine or combination of the two)
  • 1 1/2 TBS mild brown mustard (I used Raye's Wintergarden, which has a touch of dill)
  • 2 TBS balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fruity olive oil
  • 2 TBS chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 cup gorgonzola crumbles
Put lentils and bay leaf in a medium pot and cover with a few inches of water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 25-35 minutes, or until tender, but not too soft. Drain well and discard bay leaf.

Meanwhile... Season pork chunks well with kosher salt and black pepper. In a wide skillet with high sides or large pot, brown and cook through the pork over medium high heat. Remove from pot and put aside. Add chopped onion, minced garlic and dried thyme and cook over medium low heat (don't burn the garlic!) until softened. Add broth and/or white wine to deglaze the pan. Add drained lentils and pork chunks, stir to combine over low heat until everything is warmed through. Turn off heat, add fresh oregano. Combine mustard, balsamic vinegar and olive oil in a cup and whisk to emulsify. Pour over lentil salad and stir to coat. Add gorgonzola crumbles. Serve.

NOTE: if you are making this for one or two and will be keeping some as leftovers, do not add all of the gorgonzola to the salad, add it to individual plates. If you store the salad with the gorgonzola in it, the next day it will taste only of gorgonzola and lose all complexity. After reheating a portion, then add the gorgonzola.

1 comment:

  1. Recent improvisation: chicken instead of pork, seasoned the same, but with the addition of some ground chipotle. Add a diced red pepper to the pan when adding the onion.