My lentil love continues with this protein packed recipe, where you replace pasta for lentils in mac & cheese. Yes, I know, right?! Why did we never think of this before? When I was thinking up some unique recipes for lentils this one popped into my head. I had some chipotle infused duck fat that a chef friend gave to me, and wanted to use it in one of my recipes to confit lentils. Confit is a great technique where you cook something in a large amount of fat. Brilliant.
I know everyone is all carb sensitive these days, so this recipe is a great way to still enjoy some goodness that sticks to your ribs, but is sensitive to gluten tolerance, and those who just want to limit their carb intake. Lentils are a great option in this case, and as I have been saying all along throughout my series on lentils, so versatile and good for you. Oh, and they are cheap! I got a 2kg bag of lentils at the grocery store for $4.19. Do you have any idea how many meals you could make with that many lentils? This whole recipe cost me under $20 and would feed 6 people.
Also, be sure to check out lentils.ca, it is a great resource for information and recipes.
1 cup coconut milk
1 clove garlic
1 bay leaf
Steep for 15 minutes
2 tbs butter
2 tbs flour (I used buckwheat)
Melt the butter and whisk in the flour, until smooth
Season with salt and pepper
Add milk, discard garlic and bay leaf
3 packages (270gr.) of cheese. I used monterey jack, havarti, and aged cheddar.
Cook until combined and thickened
2 cups* green or brown lentils (I used De Puy because the hold their shape when cooked)
10 cups water
Cook for 15 minutes, and drain well
Bring 1 ½ cup of duck fat to medium heat in a pot and add the cooked lentils, cooking for 3-5 minutes, until the outside starts to firm up
Drain, and salt the lentils
Cook up some bacon, until crispy and chop into bite sized pieces.
Plate with béchamel on the bottom, spooning the lentil across the top, then sprinkle the bacon around the outside of the plate or bowl
The cooking of the lentils was a process for me, as I didn’t think it out very well from the beginning. Always best to cook them in water before any other application, but soaking them very well might work as well. First, I tried to just cook them in the hot duck fat, which ended up burning them as the oil didn’t cook through to the inside of the pulse (another term for lentils), and the outside cooked to quickly. So, after trying just a quick cook in the oil itself, I cooked them in water first. Here are all three bowls from my experiments, the bottom was the first failed attempt.
Here is a close up shot of the perfectly confited lentils:
* this amount will give you enough lentils for all of the béchamel, or you can save the sauce for another application and cook 1 cup with 5 cups of water. I made some cheese toasts with some quick pickled asparagus with my leftovers