Gill Meller’s lentils cooked with garlic, chilli + rosemary
Serves 3 – 4
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- a pinch of chilli flakes, plus extra to serve
- 175g (6oz) red lentils, rinsed
- 2 rosemary sprigs
- 1 litre (35fl oz) vegetable stock
- a small bunch of curly kale, leaves stripped from the stalk and roughly chopped
- a knob of butter
- 4 eggs
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- a small handful of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped, to serve
We’re so happy to have got hold of Gill Meller’s latest book Outside: Recipes for a Wilder Way of Eating and even happier to be able to share a recipe from it.
Gill’s book is a celebration of the joys of cooking and eating outside. Here’s to a lot more of it this year including this simple and filling idea for an outdoor breakfast that works just as easily inside on the stove.
This is a whole lot of everything all at once. It’s a fullsize breakfast, an intrepid lunch and a satisfying supper, and it’s very, very big on flavour. All that said, I love its humble, unpretentious feel and it proves a point: everyday ingredients can really pack a punch when you bring them all together in a certain way. The cornerstones here are the rosemary and chilli. These are the flavours that bind everything else together and carry them along. Sometimes I like to leave the eggs out and serve the lentils just as they are, or as a side to something meaty; they go beautifully with some grilled lamb.
- Heat a large, heavy-based saucepan over the fire. Add the extra-virgin olive oil and, when it’s hot, add the onion, garlic and chilli flakes, as well as a little salt and pepper. Cook gently for 8–10 minutes – don’t let it all sizzle too quickly or the mixture will catch on the bottom.
- Stir in the lentils and the rosemary sprigs and pour in the veg stock. Cook the lentils over a low heat. They just want to simmer gently.
- When the lentils have been cooking for about 20 minutes, add the kale. You might need to place a lid on the pan to help the kale wilt down before you can stir it in.
- When the kale is tender and the lentils are beginning to break down and thicken (another 15–20 minutes or so), give them a taste – they’ll probably need plenty of salt and pepper. The lentils need to be thick enough that you can make four wells in them using the back of a spoon.
- Make the wells and drop a dot of butter into each, then crack in an egg. Season the top of the eggs and pop a lid on the pan. Cook for 6–7 minutes, or until the whites are set and the yolks are still soft. Scatter over a little chopped parsley and a few chilli flakes and serve at once.
RECIPE: Gill Meller from his latest book Outside.