Jan 25, 2008

Lentil Patties

The idea for these came from the Eating Well website. Once in a while I pick up the magazine but I'd just as soon go to the web. I modified the recipe in several ways. Again, I usually modify recipes because I like to use what I've already got on hand. But the inspiration came from the website. Here's what I did.

I cooked 1 cup of red lentils in enough water to cover them and then a bit more. I know, you anal types are starting to twitch already. But really, just about more than cover the lentils and you'll be fine. You can always add more water in the cooking process. Red lentils cook quickly and they don't hold shape very well but that didn't matter for these patties. Not to me, anyway, because I had planned on putting the whole batch in the food processor (the magazine suggests some in the food processor, some left whole). I diced 1 medium onion. I diced 1 smallish carrot. I chopped 1 large clove of garlic. I chopped 1/3 cup of cilantro. Folks, use those stems. Sooooo much flavor in the stems. I roughly chopped 1/2 cup almonds.

While the lentils cooked, I sauted the onion, garlic, and carrots. To this I added salt, pepper, ground cumin, garlic powder, and a generous sprinkling of crushed, mild, red chilies I bought in Chimayo, NM. For good measure, into the pan I gave a few shakes of Roland's Balsamic Pepper Sauce. Pick up this delicious condiment if you can find it. Once the saute mix was beginning to brown I added the almonds and the cilantro, lowered the heat and let the whole thing slowly continue to cook. Once it done to my liking I removed the pan from the heat and let it cool for just a bit.

I drained the lentils and reserved the liquid just in case the patty mix needed moisture but it didn't.

Then everything goes into the food processor. I pulsed the mix several times then decided to add two slices of bread that I had sitting out to dry for bread crumbs. I continued to pulse and re-season. Then I put the whole mixture into the refrigerator so it would be easier to handle. When I was ready to cook the patties, I heated some olive oil in a non-stick pan, lightly oiled my hands, formed patties with the mixture, then quickly flipped the patties in homemade bread crumbs before frying on both sides. This resulted in a nice crust. I used just as much olive oil as I could get away with and it worked out well. These patties were not greasy. I kept an eye on them and at one point lowered the heat and let them brown slowly. I set them on paper towels as I removed them from the pan. These were really tasty. And the possibilities are endless with this type of vegetarian patty idea in general. Veggie patties are really a great way to experiment with lots of healthy ingredients. And these patties are a great way to get protein and fiber in one bite.

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