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Aromatic Lentils Purée with Eggplant Sticks

Special dressing: Frank Sinatra; found him very appropriate since lentils are quite my way!

Here is my month’s entry for the February Joust at Jenn DiPiazza’s blog, for those of you who still don’t know who Jenn is, she is the Fantabulous owner of the foodie blog Leftoverqueen and every month there’s a Joust going on with 3 Main ingredients: This months’ ingredients are: Lentils, eggplant and cinnamon. The winner of the previous joust is the one choosing the ingredients for the next one.

It’s been really hard to match these three ingredients: lentils and eggplant weren’t a problem, but adding cinnamon it was just unreal from my Spanish foodie point of view!!! I have only seen cinnamon used in desserts. However, I finally came with a solution, I combined the lentils and cinnamon and left the eggplant aside. The dish has some asiatic notes, I guess, because the legume has an unimaginable taste for me… but so delicious and sooooo exotic! I really want to thank Dharn for putting me in the edge and making me think of these three ingredients’ marriage!

Colours are not my favourites but this is what happens when chorizo is not in the lentils stew!!!

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•Ingredients for 4 servings: 2 medium sized eggplants, 250 grs of dry lentils, 1 garlic head, 1 bay leaf, 50 grs cured ham, salt, 2 liters of water, 1 teaspoon of grinded cinnamon, 1 tsp of sweet paprika, 1 of grinded cummin, a pinch of black pepper, olive oil, some beer, some flour, 2 big red onions and 2 garlic cloves.

•I use lentils that don’t need to be soaked in water the night before. Just rinse the lentils and have them in a pot with the garlic head, bay leaf, ham, some salt and the water. Cook at low heat for 1 hour.

•In a saucepan with some olive oil, cook (low heat) 2 big red onions and 2 garlic cloves, when the onion is transparent add the spices: sweet red paprika, commin and cinnamon. Keep on stirring for 5 minutes at low heat and reserve.
•Take the bay leaf away from the lentils and add the onion and spices to the lentils stew. Stir until all flavours mix.
•With a food processor convert it into a purée and strain so that we don’t find any peels. Add a bit of water if it’s too thick. Reserve it and keep warm.

•Cut the eggplants in sticks and throw some salt on them so that they take away the bitter liquid. After ½ hour, shake them and have them ready to coat in beer and flour: just pour enough beer to fill the bottom of the soup plate and then add as many flour as necessary to have a creamy texture. Coat the eggplants and throw into a saucepan with hot olive oil. Fry them and reserve in kitchen paper to leave all the oil. Add salt on top of them.

•Present the dish with a disc of eggplant in the glass (like a piece of lemon in a martini) and the eggplant sticks on the base of the plate.

•Have a good dip!


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01/14/2008 · 21:51 h by Peter M

Nuria, you’re very daring and I’ve never had cinnamon with lentils or eggplant.

The dipping looks good and the eggplant look nicely deep fried. OLE!

01/15/2008 · 8:01 h by Núria

Hola Querido Peter! Me neither!!! It was a big challenge!

Thanks for your kind words!!! I finally took the fried way… my subconscious is too strong!

01/15/2008 · 12:32 h by Bellini Valli

This is a very imaginative and delicious looking entry into the Royal Foodie Joust Nuria. Good for you!!!

01/15/2008 · 18:43 h by jesse

Yikes, deep fried eggplant!! *CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP* Thank you for such an awesome recipe!

01/15/2008 · 20:17 h by Núria

Hi Jesse! Thank you for dropping by!!!

01/15/2008 · 21:08 h by Katy

oh, this is really good. i’m actually not participating this month because i really don’t like lentils much, but i think it might be a texture thing, so puree is DEFINITELY the way to go! i never would have thought of it though!

01/16/2008 · 8:14 h by Núria

Thank you Katy! It’s been quite an experiment for me too! But the result hasn’t been too bad :D

01/16/2008 · 16:52 h by JennDZ - The Leftover Queen

Sounds very good Nuria! So original! Best of Luck!

01/16/2008 · 19:32 h by Núria

Thanks for your support Jenn! Yes, original is a good adjective… I couldn’t come up with anything else. But then when I see the other recipes, I think: how come I didn’t do that?

01/16/2008 · 19:57 h by Emiline

Yea! Good job! Your dish looks great- I hope you win.

01/17/2008 · 9:38 h by Núria

Thanks so much, Emiline!

01/30/2008 · 19:45 h by Jen of A2eatwrite

This looks wonderful, Nuria – I followed your link from the Food Joust forum!

01/31/2008 · 8:03 h by Núria

Thank you Jen,
Good luck in Joust! Isn’t it a fun game?

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