Inspired by recent travels to southern Spain, Chef Christine Moss shares a vegan comfort-food recipe (a favorite in her restaurant) to soothe your soul
A few tips from my kitchen to yours:
- As with all recipes, please read the directions through to the end before you begin.
- I have given the brand names of some of the ingredients in this recipe because I’ve found that their distinct flavor adds to this dish.
- 1 lb. dry lentils (green, brown or French, your choice)
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 cup diced White Onion
- ½ cup diced Carrots
- ½ cup diced Celery
- 2 cloves Garlic smashed and diced
- ¼ cup Olive Oil + 1 TBSP
- 4 leave fresh Sage sliced thinly (or 1 TBSP dried)
- 2 TBSP Cumin
- 2 TBSP dried Thyme
- 2 (14oz.) bottles of Heinz organic Ketchup
- ¼ cup Vegetable Stock or Water
- 2 TBSP Annie’s Worcestershire Sauce (other brands may not be vegan)
- 3-4 Tablespoons Tamari
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Rinse the lentils well and pick out any stones (yes, they commonly have stones). Add them to a large pot with a generous amount of water to cover the lentils and bring to a boil. Once they have reached a boil, lower the heat to very low, add in the bay leaves and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Continue to add water as it cooks out.
- Drain the lentils and set aside.
- In a large sauté pan, coat the bottom with the olive oil. Heat on medium and then add in the onion, carrots, celery and garlic.
- Cook the vegetables for about 5-6 minutes and then add in a pinch of salt and pepper, sage, cumin and thyme. Stir together and cook for another 4-5 minutes until tender.
- Transfer the cooked onion, carrot, celery and spice mixture to a food processor and pulse until finely minced. Stop before it turns to mush.
- In a large mixing bowl, place the cooked lentils with the minced cooked vegetables.
- Add in 1 full bottle of ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, 2 TBSP tamari, a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
- Using a potato masher (or washed hands) begin to mash the lentils together with everything. You are looking for a slightly cohesive mixture with some of the lentils still remaining whole.
- Taste it, add in more tamari, cumin and/or salt and pepper as needed.
- Prepare an 8” baking dish with oil and spoon the lentil mixture into it.
- With the back of a large spoon, press it down into the pan and smooth out the surface.
- Place ½ a bottle of ketchup into another mixing bowl and thin it down with a little vegetable stock or water and 1 TBSP of olive oil.
- Spread the ketchup mixture evenly over the top of the lentil loaf.
- Cover the pan with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes to caramelize the edges.
- Allow the loaf to cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Serve with mashed potatoes, gravy and a green vegetable such as kale or broccoli.
Caramelized Onion and Shiitake Gravy
- 4-6 White or Spanish onions peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 leaves fresh sage thinly sliced
- 2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 cup shiitake mushrooms caps and stems trimmed at the ends, thinly sliced
- 3-4 cups vegetable stock
- 2 tsp. arrowroot powder
- ½ cup cold water
- Coat the bottom of a large sauté pan with olive oil and add in the sliced onions.
- Place on a low flame and allow it to cook slowly, do not stir or mix.
- Let the onions cook about 15-20 minutes, until they start to turn golden brown on the bottom and the onions in the top of the pan are beginning to turn translucent.
- Pile the shiitake mushrooms and the garlic on top of the onions, do not stir yet. Cook another 6-7 minutes. Now stir, scrape up from the bottom of the pan. Add in the sage, thyme, pepper and salt.
- Slowly pour in the vegetable stock and let it simmer for another 10 minutes.
- In a small mixing bowl place the arrowroot powder and pour the cold water into it. Mix it quickly with a fork or whisk and pour into the onions. Mix well.
- Simmer an additional 5-6 minutes until it thickens. Add more vegetable stock if needed.
Note: If you like your gravy to be darker, add in a little Annie’s Worcestershire sauce or tamari instead of the salt!
You may also enjoy eating Autumn Stew: A Recipe of Seasonal Foods, Folk Lore and Sustenance by Chef Christine Moss