Prep: 15 mins.
Cooking: 1 hour in total.
Course: Starter or main
Serves: 4 as a starter or 2 as a main course
Rating: 3: Moderate
An unusual veggie dish that can be used as a starter or as a main course.
If you are not veggie, you can replace the puy lentils (which, even as a keen carnivore I actually find very tasty), with the Mince’n’Onion Thingymebob, should you wish.
It is an immensely healthy, vegetarian dish that is low fat, gluten-free, dairy-free and good for you – but despite that, it isn’t taste-free.
Puy lentils (the French green lentils originally grown around the Puy region… hence the name…) will cook to tender in around twenty minutes and will carry flavour readily along with their natural nutty taste. So, being the sort of ingenious person that you are, latching onto opportunities that present themselves to you, you’re thinking that if they are boiled in a solution of bouillon powder (see Tricks’n’Tips), they will carry that flavour to the table. Yes.
Correct – go to the top of the class and don’t get dizzy…..and definitely don’t fall off!
- 4 large open, dish shaped mushrooms, stem removed
Get Portobello mushrooms if possible – but if not, just get the biggest buggers y’can find.
- 100g puy lentils
- Bouillon powder (or veggie stock cubes)
- 1 lemon
- 2 cloves garlic
- 8 tomatoes
- Flat-leaved parsley
- Olive oil
- Half a glass of sherry (for once, this should be the amount)….it doesn’t stop you drinking a good few glasses of it though!
- Sauce thickener – probably cornflour
- Cup of breadcrumbs
- Olive oil
- Pine nuts, roasted, toasted or fried
- Italian seasoning mix
- So, roast the tomatoes in an oven tin for 30 minutes on gas mk 5, boil the lentils in a saucepan of water and bouillon powder for the same time. Remove the tomato skins from the flesh by squeezin’ ‘em……..easy-peasy!
- Chop the garlic finely and mix with the tomato, mushroom stems and lentils to make a classic veggie combination. Add lots of black pepper & mix. Let it sit for 5 mins, mix again and then re-check for seasoning.
- Boil the Portobello mushrooms, whole, in the bouillon mixture for 5 mins, then drain.
- Pop a little butter in each cap. Fry the pine nuts very gently in the olive oil to just start to colour, then add breadcrumbs and get them to darken a little. Add the Italian seasoning and mix.
- Spoon the lentil mixture into the mushroom caps. Add the breadcrumb topping.
- Put them into the oven on gas mk 5 (in the same oven tin as the toms – saves washing up) for about another 20 mins.
- Add the sherry to the bouillon liquid and thicken with the Cornflour (see Tricks’n’Tips), seasoning to taste, and pour over them on the plates.
- The mushrooms will emerge from the oven looking quite dull in colour; lighten it all up with chopped parsley, red & yellow peppers and other bright colours.
- Serve with all manner of veggie delights – or just very crusty bread and lovely butter.