In these times of generalized confinement, we have an old family legend about lentils, peddled from generation to generation. That of a grandfather lost somewhere between the Meuse and the Somme during the First World War. Imagine, survival in the mud and shit of the trenches. Another form of containment. We pulled the bayonet out of the barrel, under the machine gun, to expose ourselves to another kind of deadly virus. In the family story, our furry young grandfather had been stranded for days under a bus storm when a ladle of lentils was thrown into his bowl and he lapped up without paying attention to this ragougnasse. Up to the spoon too much, when a nasty piece of junk was stuck in one of his ratiches, causing him terrible pain that he had to endure for three days and three nights. “We were in the middle of a pipe breaker, he said. Me, it was nothing, my tooth, next to the comrades who had their holes drilled. But if you knew what I tasted … “
One day, he told us that he may have survived this steel storm because he had “The rage that you treat your tooth”. He had kept from this painful episode a holy scare of lentils, which made him say when he was served: “You trilled them well, didn’t you?” Are there more stones or scrap? ”
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Not only is the lentil today, most of the time, well sorted but it is above all a precious vegetable protein and a universal legume in all cuisines of the world. In France alone, there is a slew of varieties to delight all the simmerings: we think of green lentils from Puy, Berry but also the blonde from Saint-Flour and lentil from Champagne.
We borrowed its lentil curry from multi-star chef Guy Savoy in his amazing book Gourmet vegetables (1). You need 100 g of carrots; 100 g onions; 200 g lentils; a teaspoon of curry powder; 15 cl of fresh cream; a tomato; a knob of butter; salt and pepper.
Wash the lentils several times in plenty of water and soak them for 45 minutes, then drain them.
Peel onions and carrots and cut them into small dice four millimeters per side. Put these in a frying pan over a low heat with a knob of butter, just long enough to let them return their vegetable water. Then add the lentils and twice their volume of water. Put a lid and cook over low heat 45 minutes. In the meantime, check from time to time that there is enough liquid in the pan so that it does not stick and, if necessary, add a little water.
After 45 minutes of cooking, add 15 cl of fresh cream and a teaspoon of curry powder. The cream will first liquefy, then when the boiling begins, it will start to reduce.
Meanwhile, world a tomato. Start by cutting a cone around the tail with a small pointed knife in order to remove the slightly hard part of the flesh at the same time. To peel the tomato, cut a small cross at the base of the fruit then immerse it for twelve seconds in a saucepan of boiling water, and then fifteen seconds in cold water. The skin then withdraws on its own.
Cut the tomato crosswise and, using the knife, remove the seeds and the pulp to keep only the flesh. Then cut the tomato into small dice.
Pour the lentils into a baking dish. Add the diced tomatoes and place in the oven for three minutes, enough time to heat the tomato.
(1) Gourmet vegetables by Guy Savoy with Guy Langlois (ed. Plon, 1985)