Thursday, December 25, 2008
My kitchen is not in a heated area of my house, so since it has been cold I tend to dash in, cook, and dash out again. This mess of cabbage and lentils came together in 20 minutes and tasted fantastic.
A more elaborate (and healthier) recipe from NYT was the inspiration - the cabbage and lentils sounded amazing together, but I wanted a quicker recipe and decided to use Sichuan hot and numbing sausage (麻辣香肠) or bacon for flavour and canned lentils. The drawback for using canned was that it is not easy to control the salt - between the sausage/bacon and salted lentils, this got a bit more salty than strictly necessary even without adding any. I'd probably make the lentils from scratch next time, or drain some canning liquid and just add water. You need the firmer, brown or green lentils.
Slice about eight loonie sized coins of sausage (can use any dry, spicy sausage) OR dice one strip of thick bacon and saute til the fat is rendered and the pieces are starting to get crispy. Use your knife to shred four cups of cabbage and add it to the pan, adding a little oil only if your pan is too dry. Saute the cabbage til just wilted and add one 14 oz can of lentils, including the liquid, and let everything bubble together for a few minutes until flavours are combined. It should be soupy, so add water if required.
The first time I made this with dumplings steamed on top made from biscuit mix and a little milk - outstanding. The second time I ate it with home fries. Recipe is enough for two; if you are increasing quantities, don't increase the meat proportionally - it is a seasoning. 2 more 'coins' per person is lots.