Today's offering is from The Eat Less Meat Book (by the very same Mrs CS Peel from my last post), written in 1917, and tagged with the publisher's helpful note: "Recipes for those who wish to substitute other dishes for meat." This recipe is from the section on "Pulse Dishes," which begins with the caveat that "all dried pulses must be soaked for quite twelve hours and cooked long and slowly," and goes on to caution the reader that because they are "rich in protein," they are often "found indigestible when eaten with meat, the combination of two foods containing such a high proportion of protein throwing too great a strain on the digestive organs."
On the latter score, the reader need not fear, since no legume of mine is getting within a country mile of any dead animals. On the former point, however, I must beg to differ with the estimable Mrs Peel, since I find an hour or so of soaking perfectly adequate for pulses like lentils, which are the primary ingredient in this dish. The finished product was a very tasty "meatloaf," which would also make a good filling for sausage rolls and "meat" pies, or as the basis for cutlets or sausages.
Lentil Roast (my version)
~ 2 tbsp. oil
~ 1 large onion or 2 leeks, finely chopped (or a combination)
~ 1/2 lb. mushrooms, chopped
~ 1 tsp. salt
~ 1/2 tsp. each: marjoram, rosemary, sage, thyme
~ Dash ground mace
~ Several generous grinds pepper
~ 1.5 cups brown lentils, rinsed and soaked
~ 3 cups vegetable stock
~ 2 cups mashed potatoes
~ 1 cup bread crumbs (or ground walnuts to make it GF and save bread!)
~ 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
~ 1 tbsp. Earth Balance or other vegan margarine
~ Grease a baking sheet with cooking spray and preheat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit.
~ In a large saucepan, cook the onion in the oil over medium heat for five minutes.
~ Add the mushrooms, salt, rosemary, marjoram, sage, thyme, mace, and pepper; cook for about five minutes, until the shrooms are fragrant and have released their liquid.
~ Add the lentils, stir to coat, and cook another minute or two before pouring in the stock.
~ Cover the pan, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking, covered, for about 30 minutes, or until all the stock has been absorbed and the lentils are quite mushy. Give the mixture a stir occasionally to make sure it isn't sticking (in which case you can add a splash of water), but bear in mind that "it must be fairly dry when the lentils are cooked."
~ Remove from heat and transfer the cooked lentils to a mixing bowl. Mash them thoroughly and stir in the mashed potato, bread crumbs or walnuts, and chopped parsley.
~ Mix well, and when it's cool enough to handle, shape the mixture into two loaves and place them on your prepared baking sheet. (Mrs Peel wants us to form them into "a shape as much like roast duck [?!] as possible," but I thought the meatloaf approach would be more manageable. That said, if you want to try the duck thing, please go right ahead, but I do ask that you let me know how it turns out!)
~ Dot the top of the loaves with the margarine (the prototype's "small scraps of fat'), and bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until they are "a nice brown."
~ Allow the loaves to sit for about 10 minutes before slicing. I served this dish with a mushroom gravy made by adding a teaspoon of Marmite and 1/2 lb. chopped, sauteed mushrooms to The Win-the-War Cookery Book's "Good White Sauce," which was a nice accompaniment to the roasted potatoes and braised green beans we had along with it.
Mrs CS Peel's Version