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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Lentils w/ Rice inspired by Delicatessen {food 'n flix}

Lentils w/ Rice inspired by Delicatessen #FoodnFlix |
I knew what Delicatessen was about before I started watching, so it wasn't a shock.  This film is set in a small apartment building atop a butcher shop in post-apocalyptic France, in which the owner of the apartment building and the butcher are one in the same. In this shattered version of the world, meat is incredibly scarce.  Not even any rats remain.  This means that although the butcher shop is open daily, meat is only sold from time to time.  Usually following the disappearance of the latest handyman.

But people look forward to these disappearances.  They anticipate them.  They prepare their goods for trade.  Goods like grain, corn, lentils, and whatever else the butcher may accept as payment.  It's dark, and a bit crazy.  But it also has its funny moments and a quirky cast of characters.

The characters make this film.  The humanness of the daily antics, from boys pulling pranks to forbidden love, from jealousy to mother-in-laws, from trysts to bumbling first dates.  The hilariousness of filling a room with water in order to break through the floor and escape your pursuers.  And perhaps my favorite part, bouncing in time on a bed in order to find that one squeaky spring.
Lentils w/ Rice inspired by Delicatessen #FoodnFlix |
Food references abound, as you would imagine since it is the primary thing on your mind when you are always hungry.  But it does take a little bit of imagination to pull the bits and bobs together that are NOT mystery meat.  Okay, not a mystery - everybody knows what it is, and they ask for it by name (brain, shoulder, leg).

At first, I was going to make an Artichoke Heart Souffle in honor of the code words that Julie uses in her attempt to save Louison from her father's cleaver, with the help of the underground group, the Troglodytes.  And then I entertained the idea of a "mock apple pie", as a nod to the "mock animal meat" that drives these people mad with anticipation.  The large sacks of corn in Clapet's basement brought visions of stone soup, or perhaps cornmeal mush to my head.

But in the end, it was Louison, the lovable vegetarian clown turned handyman who inspired me.  When his taxi first arrives on the cobblestones outside of the butcher shop to find a job, he turns out his pockets looking for money, and all he comes up with is a palmful of lentils.  Vegetarianism appeals to me much more than cannibalism.  Yes, lentils and other legumes would be where I turned to give my body protein.  And since there is still grain floating around, why not combine it with those lentils - to fill you up for a longer period of time.  I like to think I'd pull out my stash of spices in order to add a bit of depth and a reminder of the "good old days".

Lentils with Rice

by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Keywords: boil vegetarian nut-free soy-free sugar-free lentils rice

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 1 1/3 cups French green lentils, rinsed
  • 5 cups water, divided
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 2 fat cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon roasted, ground coriander
  • sea salt
  • 1 cup white basmati rice (or long grain white), rinsed well
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • big handful chopped parsley, divided
Put the lentils and 4 cups of the water into a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until just tender, adding a few pinches of salt towards the end of the cooking time.

In the meantime, heat the oil in a small-medium pan over medium-low heat and add the onion, stirring often, until it is golden and "sticky-looking". Add garlic, cinnamon, paprika, and coriander, and stir, cooking for a couple minutes longer. Remove from heat.

Add the reserved onion mixture. rice, butter, half of the parsley, the last cup of water, and another pinch or two of salt to the pot with the lentils. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to a very gentle simmer.

Cook for about 15 minutes, or until rice is cooked through. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Cover with a clean dish towel and cover again for 10 minutes. Fluff again, check seasoning, and and stir in remaining parsley.  Enjoy.

inspired by and adapted from Apples for Jam
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Cats Love Lentils |

Food‘nFlix This month's edition of Food 'n Flix is hosted by Elizabeth at The Law Student's Cookbook, with her pick: Delicatessen. Submissions are due 5/29, so there's still time to join in this month. If you haven't seen Delicatessen, you're in for a surprise!

Next month's pick, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, will be hosted by Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla - it's never too early to start watching (and cooking... or making sushi).