Thursday, January 11, 2018

OUR lentil loaf

Happy 2018 dear all, our first post of the year was requested by our friend Jan Egan aka The Watchful Cook.
On NYE we made a delicious lentil loaf and after researching for the best recipe, we decided to give it a Piedmont twist by including some Jerusalem artichokes.

Regular Italian artichokes have always been an all time favorite of ours but it is only since a few months we started cooking and eating Jerusalem artichokes too.
Usually Jerusalem artichokes are part of bagna caoda THE Piedmont and family/friends dish, however, they can be cooked in virtually any way and can be eaten raw too.

Apparently their English name derives from the anglicized version of the Italian girasole or sunflower because the Italian immigrants in the US found the plant very similar to the sunflower one.
As for the artichoke part, it is due to their similarity with the regular artichokes, but they really have nothing else in common because "J art" are a tuber like potatoes.

In Italian we call them topinanbour and they come in 2 species, regular and white - the better and more delicate quality.
In the winter particularly, they are a super food as they are packed with potassium, iron, fibers and niacin, consequently they help you purifying your system, are  great option to bananas, give you strength and energy. Moreover, they reduce your cholesterol and regulate your blood pressure. 👌

As their flavor is mild and they can be cooked and roasted, slowly but steadily we are including them in many of our cold weather/comfort food dishes paired with rice, legumes and other vegetables to keep them in good company 😉

So on NYE, we included them  in our lentil loaf, our personal tribute to pigs - that we have adored since "Babe, gallant pig" and "Okdja" and feel deeply guilty every time we have prosciutto 😢
As you might know, traditionally Italians have cotechino and lenticchie on New Year's Eve or Day or both. Cotechino becuse the pig is a symbol of wealth and lentils to symbolize the coins we are going to make/spend/eat in the new year.
Since lentils are very versatile and rich in proteins we decided to honor the pigs and make a  vegetarian loaf!

This the recipe we used, we made it in the bundt cake mold, but if you have a loaf mold, you should use that one. You can also just make lentil burgers and keep all the veggies we used as a side 😋
... just be warned that the ketchup maple syrup balsamic glaze is addictive so make extra!

C is for Cup
T is for Tablespoon

  • 1 C of dry lentils 
  • 2 C of Jerusalem artichokes
  • 3 C of cut and cleaned mushrooms
  • 1/2  C of quartered artichoke hearts
  • 1/2 C of walnuts
  • 1/2 C of grounded oats or breadcrumbs or mixed seeds
  • 2 large American eggs or 3 smaller European eggs
  • 1.5 C of grated cheeses (we used Parmigiano Reggiano but any hard cheese will work too)
  • 1T of finely chopped fresh ginger or 2T of garlic
  • 1T of Dijon mustard
  • 1T of soy sauce
  • 1T Worcester sauce 
  • 1T of EVOO
  • 1/4 T of salt
  • black pepper as you like
  • a generous sprinkle of all the dry herbs and spices you like the most, we used: nutmeg, curry, paprika, oregano, rosemary, turmeric and Magda Abu Fadil's Lebanese thyme 😍

For the glaze:
6T of ketch-up
2T of balsamic vinegar
2T maple syrup gifted to us by our dear friend Isabella Ariotti

save yourselves any regrets like us and make extra because it is sooo good and what you won't use to glaze your loaf you will have with your loaf slices 😎 

or get some bbq sauce

Oven 375F -190C for 25/30min 
then brush on top the glaze and bake for 10 more minutes

Topinanbour or J art

While boiling the lentils for 30minutes, slightly sauté the mushrooms, and prep the J art (you have to peel them and chop them in 1/2 inch - 1cm cubes.

When the lentils are ready, get them in your mixer, our recipe said to grind them to 3/4 to allow 1/4 to remain whole but looking back.... next time we will also add the eggs and the liquids and blend everything evenly as if we were to make lentil burgers.

Move the mixed lentils to a large bowel and add all the ingredients.
Mix everything well before lining your loaf mold with parchment paper or grease with EVOO or Pam.

Fill up your mold, press the loaf and bake it.

Prep the glaze or simply get ready to spread some bbq sauce on top of your lentil loaf and finish baking.

When ready, let cool down before unmolding and serving 🙌

You will notice that this lentil loaf has a nice crunchy texture given by the J art and a fleshy one provided by the artichoke hearts.

By all means use the vegetables, the herbs and the spices you prefer: following the seasons, this recipe changes every time!

As our dear friend Ale Gambini aka A Queen In The Kitchen shows us Northern Italian cuisine is mild, we don't use huge amounts of onion and garlic, nor we overdo it with our EVOO.

As lentil burgers are easier to portion, next time we'll make them and have J art and artichoke chips on the side.

What did we pair this NYE tribute to pig lentil loaf?
Asti Spumante of course 💃

Naturally we recommend some:
- red wines like our local Ruché, Lessona and Gattinara
- white wines like our Piedmont Cortese di Gavi, Timorasso and Erbaluce di Caluso
- bubbly wines like Asti or Alta Langa rosé

For those of you who like us love the savory-sweet contrast, Moscato and Malvasia di Castelnuovo Don Bosco exclusively by Cascina Gilli are ALWAYS a great option 🙆   

Special thanks to our friend Lisa Watson aka Italian Kiwi who we consult with every time we have a culinary urge 🙇 and wonder about the feasibility of our concoctions, doses and need suggestions about extra ingredients or simply encouragement.

This lentil loaf with J art was rather simple and quick to make, packed with proteins and nutrients, it makes a great vegetarian option and it can easily become vegan subbing the eggs with a certified vegan equivalent and using a vegan Worcester sauce. 

Our lentil loaf can last up to 3 days or you can portion it and freeze it and have it whenever you feel like it.

This is our vida royal, come join us for an epicurean week-end 😎

1 comment:

  1. I’ll have to try to make this after all the discussion we had about it! it sounds as though it worked wonderfully!