Category Archives: Lentils

Pasilla Beef and Lentils

This is definitely a Mexican meal but without the usual Tex-Mex flavor.  This one has no hot peppers, cheese, or traditional salsa that Americans usually consider “Mexican food.”

This is a good meal to be made with a cheap roast or a lesser grade of beef.  I have found something in one of my local stores that is called “soup meat” which works very well for this particular recipe.

This is a crock pot meal that gets cooked while I sleep.  I put this on in the evening before bed using my low setting.  After putting the meat into the crock pot I add three or four dried Pasilla or Anaheim peppers, salt and fill up the crock with water.   We have the broth for breakfast.

For lunch, I fry up a large onion and an 8 oz box of mushrooms in a coconut and palm oil blend.  While the onions and mushrooms are cooking I put the peppers (minus the stems) in the blender with some stock. I grind them up into a sauce–if the mixture gets too thick, I add a bit more stock.

Once the onions and mushrooms are done, I add in the chopped up soup meat and then pour the sauce over it.   To this I add at least a tbsp of cinnamon, a tsp of ginger, a tsp of paprika and salt.  Stir it all together and let it simmer for a several minutes to blend all of the flavors together, then add in 3-4 cloves of crushed garlic.

And like everything else I cook, this recipe is open for change and altering.   On a different day I might add cumin and lime juice; add chocolate for mole sauce or peanut butter for a peanut mole sauce.  The sauce could even have a little honey added to it to sweeten it-in that case it would taste more like B-B-Q sauce.

This meat dish is perfect served with lentils and lacto fermented tomato salsa, but I think if you tasted it you would find that it is also well suited to just about any veggie combination.


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Posted by on February 16, 2012 in Beef, Crock Pot, Lentils, Meat Leftovers


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Lactose-Fermented Lentils

Fermenting Lentils

Well, after spending several days on the road and then spending another several days trying to get the phone company to fix our internet I am finally getting back to my correspondence and etc…

I have previously mentioned that one of our favorite beans was the pinto used heavily with Mexican dishes.  A few years back, after acquiring Nourishing Traditions, I began to ferment things…we have already talked about the lactose fermented kraut.  Well, once I got the hang of that I began fermenting everything to include pinto beans.  At first I was afraid to do this for fear that I would be eating spoiled food. As a word of encouragement, if something you attempt to ferment spoils, you will know it by the smell.  Properly fermented food has a pleasant smell not something that smells like death warmed over.  (Which is what spoiled beans smell like.)

Well anyway, with GAPS we had to give up the fermented pintos.  I did try fermenting Navy beans but they just were not the same.  For some time I have been considering fermenting lentils.  I was a bit skeptical of what they might taste like since they are completely different from pintos in texture and flavor.  Well, last week I decided to give fermented lentils a try.  I was more than pleasantly surprised by the texture and the taste and these will become a standard fermented food for us from now on.  They take a lot less time to make (less soaking, cooking time, and fermenting) and just as yummy as fermented pinto beans although different.

Finished Product

To make fermented lentils you start out with a pot of freshly cooked lentils–nothing but lentils and water. I usually soak my lentils for awhile and then drain the water off rinsing them in running water and then add fresh filtered water. Then I slow cook them until they are tender…usually about an hour.  After that I allow them to cool sufficiently so as not to kill the whey.

The recipe goes something like this– a pound of cooked lentils, 1 tablespoon of sea salt, 4 or more tablespoons of kefir/yogurt whey (I usually use a lot more), one small chopped onion, a crushed clove of garlic per jar. Stir it all together well and put it in a jar that has a good screw on lid. (Canning jars work perfectly for fermenting.  Sit the jars in a dish pan for a couple of days on the countertop and then rinse the outside of the jars off and transfer to the refrigerator.

(Fermented food has a tendency to off gas out of the lids which push some fluid out of the jars and can make a horrible mess and smell. Please make sure your lids are on tight, I have had jars of pinto beans blow their lids off and we’ve had to scrub beans off the ceiling.  Not a fun job.)  

My family likes their fermented beans with breakfast as a side to their eggs but they go well with most meals.  And very good with salsa.

Yummy Beans and Salsa!!


Posted by on December 7, 2011 in Fermented Foods, Lentils


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Lowly Lentils

Lentil Stew

Today is going to be one of those days when I know that I am going to be busy.  I also know that I do not have a meal planned for lunch and I am getting a late start.  Often on days like this I fix a pan of lentils.  I find that a lot of Americans do not know what lentils are and fewer eat them.  One friend says she dislikes the texture, while another only eats beans that are sweet, and others simply just do not like the color. 

Lentils come in various colors; red, yellow, brown, and green.  While there may be a variance in flavor, for me it is not significant enough for me to pay the higher price for the fancy colors.  Lentils are a legume so thus have all the nutrients of such.  Unlike other legumes, they do not require a long soaking period to break out the phytic acid.

I usually soak my lentils for about 45 minutes before I cook them. This is more to speed up the cooking process than anything. Like all beans they need to be washed and rinsed well before being put on to soak.  But soaking is not necessary so if you do not want to take the time just rinse and put them in your pan.

Most people who eat lentils usual follow some kind of Middle Eastern recipe, partly because this is where the recipes come from.  Many people believe that the Red Stew that Esau served Jacob was a pot of red lentils, and it could very well have been. 

While I usually vary the stuff I put into lentils there are some basic ingredients that I almost always use.  Lentils (1lb), celery (1 stalk), carrots (2), onion (1 med), garlic (2-3 cloves) salt, paprika, and white pepper (to taste).  Some times like today I will add tomatoes (1-2 cups)  because I have some that need to be used up.  And because it is chilly outside I will probably add in some fresh jalapeno and cummin (to taste) for a Mexican flavor.  (Any time you use cumin, lime enhances the flavor.)  Oh yes, because I have extra chicken stock I will cook them in stock but even that is not necessary yet it does seem to enhances the texture a bit so I highly recommend it.  And because I am making this as a soup/one pot meal, I will add in some meat.  This can be leftover beef or pork or ground beef or pork.  Before I serve it I will toss in some scallions and parsley (only because I have some they add color and texture). 

I would be remiss if I did not mention that my children love to top their lentils with sour cream…but we don’t have any today so that is just going to be too bad, so sad for them.   That is kind of the way with lentils, you can add and subtract from the recipe and still come out with an inexpensive, relatively easy yet nourishing meal.

Before we started on GAPS we would often use lentils as burrito stuffing and found it quite agreeable.  So they can be smashed up and made up like refried beans and are very good with salsa and sour cream on top. 

If hummus is your thing, try making it out of lentils.  You could take the above recipe and subtract the meat, grind it all up in a food processor toss in, extra garlic, and a little olive oil.   But that should be a topic for another day….

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Posted by on November 11, 2011 in Lentils


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