Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Perfect pulses - lentils 2 ways, and some thrifty tips

As we heralded in the New Year I had one of those dawning realisations that this year was going to be an expensive one - between doing up our house (which grows as a project each time we remove another layer of lining paper) and arranging a wedding, our available funds are, shall we say... depleted?

I know that January is a common time for people to be tightening their belts and when this is the case for us pulses become a staple not just in my storecupboard, but in more of our meals, bulking out dishes so that they easily do leftovers as well as using them as a meat replacement in meals such us bolognaise.

It was with this all in mind that I gleefully happened across Michelle's recipe for Root vegetable dhaal. It fulfills criteria necessary at this time of year - thrifty, healthy and warming. Ideal for my packed lunches - although the search for a functioning flask continues - and with some homemade soda bread (recipe on the link below with the soup) the perfect Saturday lunch for a break in the decorating.

Alongside that I'm also going to knock up a batch of a Nigella recipe I appropriated and adapted a couple of years ago, her Split pea and frankfurter soup (I've always called split peas yellow lentils). I have the frankfurters in the freezer as I pick them up when they're on BOGOF. 

These are just a couple of pulses centric recipes that I'm making now. of course, lentils can be added to soups - especially good for thickening as well as bulking out, stews, chillis, bolognaises and plenty of other things to make them go further. If in doubt I add a cupful of red lentils and add the same of extra liquid - be that stock, water or wine.

Other recipes I've blogged include:

Lentil ragu
Harissa lentil salad
Spicy lentils with sausages (both these posts link to Helen at Fuss Free Flavours, as they're her recipes)

I use pulses in lots of other recipes, including last night's supper - chorizo and cannelini bean chilli (I double the cannelini beans as a cheap way of making dinner go further. I do the same with kidney beans in normal chilli and my slow cooker chilli.


Corina said...

I love pulses and would use them more often but unfortunately my husband isn't keen. It sounds like it's going to be a great year for you!

Penny Aylwin said...

I find if I add bacon or chorizo M tends to notice the pulses less than otherwise as I'm sure he's not quite as keen as I am.

Thanks Corina, and Happy new Year to you too


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