Lentil and bulgur pilaf

This is based on an Ottolenghi recipe, which he suggests is one of the ultimate comfort foods. My version contains far less oil and butter, but still seems fairly comforting to me. Enough for 2 people as a main meal.

  • 5 tbsp olive oil;Lentil&bulgar_Pilaf
  • 1 aubergine (cut into 2cm dice);
  • 60g bulgur;
  • 70g green lentils (rinsed);
  • Bay leaf;
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds;
  • 1 medium onion (chopped);
  • 1 clove garlic (finely chopped/crushed);
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric;
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice;
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon;
  • 170ml water;
  • 2 tbsp flaked almonds;
  • 1 tbsp raisins;
  • Zest of half a lemon (grated);
  • 15g butter;
  • Black pepper;
  • Lemon juice to taste;
  • Fresh coriander;
  • Greek yogurt (to serve on the side).

Mix 3 tbsp of oil with the diced aubergine. Spread the aubergine on a baking tray and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes at 180C (Gas mark 4), until browned and nearly cooked though.

Meanwhile, cook the lentils with the bay leaf on plenty of water. Bring to the boil, simmer for 12 minutes and drain (they should be al dente).

At the same time, heat the remaining oil in a large oven proof, lidded casserole, and cook the cumin seeds for about 1 minute. Turn down the heat, add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic, turmeric, allspice and cinnamon, and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the bulgur and the water, bring to the boil, and simmer for 3 minutes.

Stir in the aubergines, lentils, almonds, raisins, lemon zest and butter, and season with black pepper. Place in the oven at 160C (Gas Mark 3), and bake for 10 minutes, or until the lentils are just becoming soft.

Stir in lemon juice to taste, and serve sprinkled with coriander and a portion of Greek yogurt.

 

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No-meatballs with green couscous

This recipe is adapted from a Turkey Meatball recipe in Waitrose Kitchen magazine January 2015. Enough for 2:

No-meatballs_couscous

  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (more for finally baking the ‘no-meatballs’)
  • 1 clove of garlic (chopped/crushed)
  • 1 courgette (grated)
  • 1/2 400g tin of cannellini beans (drained (the other half was used in Sausage and white bean stew) and mashed)
  • 1 tsp allspice (ground)
  • 50g feta (crumbled)
  • Small bunch of parsley (chopped)
  • 2 tsp tahini mixed with 2 tsp water
  • Black pepper
  • 120g wholemeal couscous
  • 130ml boiling water
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 4 sprigs of mint (chopped)
  • Small bunch of coriander (chopped)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 50g rocket

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan, and gently cook the onion for 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Meanwhile grate the courgette and squeeze as much excess liquid as possible from it. Mix together the onion, garlic, courgette, beans, allspice, feta, half the parsley, black pepper to taste, and the tahini/water mix.

Form into 10 balls. Roll each in oil and bake in the oven at 180C (Gas Mark 4) for about 20 minutes, until browned.

Put the couscous into a bowl and mix in the remaining 1 tbsp of oil, and then the boiling water. Cover and stand for 6 minutes. Cook the peas as indicated on the packet. Mix the peas, the remaining herbs and the lemon juice, into the couscous. If necessary, keep warm until the balls are cooked, adding the rocket immediately before serving.

I did find that the balls did not hold their shape very well, despite the binding effect of the tahini/water mix. If I make this again, I think that I will try adding some fresh breadcrumbs.