Food Buzz

Because maybe you do care what I had for lunch...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Meat moves from center stage

I mentioned I'm working on having meat play more of a supportive role in my meals. One way to do this is to use just enough meat to help flavor a dish. This works especially well with bones.

I happened to find pork bones packaged at the coop the other day and thought they could add some depth to a lentil dish. I love dark green, French lentils; something about the color seems to elevate a humble lentil dish into something more refined. I'm sure I'm deluded about this, but creating illusions with food is part of the fun of cooking.

Anyway, I started by browning the bones (which still had some meat on them). I added some diced red onion because that's what I had. I think shallots would have been nicer, actually. After they softened a bit I poured in about a cup and a half of lentils, enough water to cover, and a few sprigs of thyme (salt and pepper to taste, as usual). I simmered this covered for about 10 minutes and then added some chopped carrots. I simmered this a while longer until the water was absorbed and the lentils just tender. I like my lentils this way instead of cooked until mushy.

Last of all, I stirred in some minced preserved lemon. I'll go over how to make preserved lemons in another post. I think they do a great job of enlivening early-spring dishes. You can find them in some specialty shops. You usually use just the skins after discarding the pulp and rinsing well. They are briny and piquant, a bit of sunny bite in an otherwise wintry palate.


Swizzies said...

North African cuisine is my favorite way of having preserved lemons.

sylvia/ticklethepear said...

Let me know if you want to experiment with different ways to make preserved lemons - I have a bunch of Moroccan cookbooks.