Prior to this past week, I would have told you I hated lentils.
Since we were supposed to have the storm of the season here with freezing rain, sleet and a nice layer of snow to top it off - I thought it was best to hoof it to the market and stock up on some staples. The last time I didn't heed warnings, I was stuck in the house with a 1/2 eaten rotisserie chicken, a can of biscuits and an egg... for a week.
So I grabbed the required 2.7 gallons of milk, 6 loaves of white bread and enough peanut butter to choke a horse. Just as I was about to queue into the "Bertha, we haven't shopped in 3 months " line, when I thought a nice pot of white bean stew would bolster us against the pending arctic weather nicely, and headed back to wedge a package of beans in next to the slightly squitched bread.
There wasn't any.
There weren't any kidney beans, limas, or black-eyed peas either. However, the nearly bare shelves had an abundance of dried lentils.
I gagged a little.
Okay... I gagged a lot.
You see, I have a thing about lentils.
There's a thing when you have four kids close to the same age, when one of the quad gets sick - they all get sick.
It's impossible to say which one of us brought home the Scarletina - within 24 hours we were all hugging the toilet.
It was ugly.
Jane had been working out of some new cookbook she had gotten and found a recipe for Lentil Stew. She thought
"protein, starch and easily digested... just the thing for illin' kids"What she didn't take into consideration was our delicate physical state as nothing was staying down. And while I know lentils take a very short time to cook; even now I'm sure those things cooked all day. We smelled them cooking through the rough seas in our own little hell of nausea. They became ingrained in our minds, and the association was set.
We each took one bite... and well...
... dinner just wasn't pleasant for anyone after that.
Up until now I haven't even been able to be in a kitchen when they were cooking.... and I really had problems even seeing someone on tv eating them... the memories washed over me and my old friend came rolling back.
But growing in this life is all about facing your demons. And Hell, we had a storm coming and I needed to make the best of it.
I poked around for a couple of days trying to find a recipe that I thought I could handle and came across a Mushroom and Lentil Pot Pie recipe in Bon Appetit. And while it looked good, I thought it needed something more than just vegetables, so (of course) I've made several adjustments to the original recipe.
Lentil and Kielbasa Pot Pie
with Cheddar Crust
adapted from Bon Appetit - see the link above for the original recipe
Serves 2 to 4
1/2 Cup Lentils
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Polish Keilbasa - Cubed
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Cup Fresh Mushrooms - Sliced
1 Small Onion - Diced (About 1/2 Cup)
1/2 Cup Carrots - Diced
1 1/2 Cups Chicken Stock
2 Sage Leaves
1 Teaspoon Fresh Thyme
1 Tablespoon Flour
2 New Potatoes (Red Skins) - Diced
2 Teaspoons Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
1/2 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon Self Rising Flour
1/4 Cup Self Rising Cornmeal Mix
2 Tablespoons Shortening
1/4 Cup Buttermilk
1 Cup Grated Sharp White Cheddar
Combine 3 cups cold water, lentils, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in medium saucepan; bring to boil.
Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until lentils are tender, 20 minutes. Drain; set lentils aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the keilbasa until lightly browned on the edges
Add the onion, carrot, sage, and thyme. Saute for 4 minutes - or until the onions have sweated and softened
Reduce heat to medium-low. Mix flour into vegetables; cook 1 minute.
Add fresh mushrooms, potatoes, soy sauce, chicken stock and tomato paste.
Cover; simmer until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionallyPreheat oven to 400°F.
Remove from the heat and fold in the lentils; season with salt and pepper.
Divide filling among two 2-cup ovenproof bowls.
Combine flour, cornmeal, shortening in a bowl and cut until mixture resembles coarse meal.
Add buttermilk and cheese and form into a soft dough
Turn out onto a floured surface and roll out into 2 round disk top crusts
Place on top of each pot pie and cut in steam vents
Bake pies on baking sheet until for 30 minutes.