‘Great Sauces Transform Good Food into Gourmet’
Bay leaves and lentils
“People who say lentils are shaped like lenses have the reference backwards. Turns out that the world’s first lenses got that name because they were shaped, yes, like lentils. The lentils came first. Way first.” says Joe Yonan, Food Editor for The Washington Post. More from the Post on Lentils.
My love affair with lentils sparked when I discovered you don’t soak before cooking. Their nutty flavor and texture makes them perfect for soups and stews. They’re one of the best plant-based sources of protein so bring ‘em on.
I love their flavor when boiled with fragrant bay leaves as detailed here. The 25-minute cook time renders the lentils tender but not mushy so they retain their flying saucer shape. No soak, fast cook!
Combine cooled lentils with bright citrus, fresh basil and creamy avocado. Serve at room temperature over golden browned boneless chops. Several taste testers widened their eyes with surprise partly because I usually serve lentils in soup and stews. One said, ‘I love the orange pieces’. Another, ‘These lentils are delicious.’ Hope you’ll love it too! Nutty, bright, creamy, fragrant!
Recipe: Lentil Citrus Salad with Pork Chops
Active Time: 22 Minutes | Total Time: 50 Minutes | Yield: 4 Servings
2 bay leaves
1 cup dry lentils, rinsed
1/2 cup rough chopped fresh basil leaves
2 minced green onion with tops
1 diced avocado
1 Tbsp olive oil, plus 2 tsp
4 1/2-inch boneless pork chops
freshly ground black pepper
Special Equipment – medium saucepan, baking sheet and skillet
1 Place 2 quarts of water and bay leaves to boil in a medium saucepan. Add lentils and reduce heat to low. Cover with a round of parchment and simmer until tender but not mushy, about 25 minutes. Drain then spread on a baking sheet to cool.
2 Meanwhile zest one orange then juice it. Cut away the peel from the remaining 2 oranges, cut in quarters and slice each crosswise in 1/4-inch slices.
3 Once lentils are nearly cool, heat a skillet with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Cook pork until it just cooked through and browned turning half way through, about 6 minutes.
4 Meanwhile combine lentils, 1/4 cup orange juice, orange zest, orange pieces, basil, green onion, avocado and remaining 2 tsp olive oil. Serve pork chops with salad spooned on the top.
Covering the water with parchment keeps the lentils submerged until they absorb enough water to sink.
I love Turkish bay leaves. I buy them from Penzey’s. When I open the jar a most amazing fragrance wafts through the air. Turkish bay is more delicate than California Bay so if you can find it, I think you will love the subtle difference it makes in your cooking.
This lentil salad would also be delicious with chicken breasts.
- Exchange 3 oranges for 5 tangerines (section rather than slice).
Inspiration – Washington Post
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Lentil Citrus Salad with Pork Chops
Written by Helen Horton
Photography and Styling by Helen Horton
Updated: February 27, 2014