Sometimes I get asked what my favourite food is and the instant answer is chicken and rice. Any type of chicken and rice will do: Hainanese chicken rice, Indian chicken biryani, Korean chicken stuffed with ginseng root and glutinous rice, Malaysian nasi lemak with chicken curry.
This weekend Junior 3 cooked a gumbo made with chicken and sausages, which we had with steamed long-grain rice. In discussing the taste we all said it was quite different and decided to leave it as a one-off but fun experience.
If it is not chicken and rice then the other thing I really love to eat is spaghetti bolognese made with minced beef or sometimes a combination of minced beef and pork. I know this is a bit basic now that we can experience a world of different pasta shapes and accompanying sauces, but the great thing about getting older is that you can mostly put your foot down and just eat what you like eating.
I was, however, intrigued by this vegan bolognese sauce which KL Sister has made several times with great success. The original recipe is here and it is possible to make the sauce in a large pot, without the aid of a Thermomix. I have simplified the recipe because in its original form there were simply too many ingredients and processes for me to contemplate for one dish.
A word about the lentils: I had some dried Puy lentils to use up which I simmered with a bay leaf until soft but still retaining a bite. It is possible to get cooked lentils in tins or bottled like these Spanish lentils from Brindisa. Please only use Puy, green or brown lentils for this recipe as other types of lentils will be too soft for the sauce. You can read about different types of lentils here and how to cook them here.
Simplifying things with Brindisa’s cooked lentils and smoked hot paprika
Giving the sauce a flavour boost with dried porcini mushrooms and fresh rosemary, oregano and thyme
For the Sauce:
350 g cooked lentils (see note above)
150 g celery stalks, cut into 2 cm pieces
150 g carrots, cut into 2 cm pieces
150 g courgette or fennel, cut into 2 cm pieces
120 g onion, peeled and quartered
15 g garlic cloves, peeled
20 g dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in warm water
30 g olive oil
2 x 400 g tins of plum tomatoes
200 g red wine or unsalted vegetable stock
A few stalks of fresh rosemary, oregano and thyme, stems removed and chopped
2 teaspoons vegetable stock powder (I use Marigold brand)
1 teaspoon unrefined caster sugar
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon smoked hot paprika
salt and ground black pepper
How to Make:
Place the celery, carrots, courgette or fennel in the TM mixing bowl. Chop 3 seconds/ speed 5. Transfer into a separate bowl and set aside.
Place the onion, garlic and porcini mushrooms (squeeze the water out first) in the TM mixing bowl. Chop 3 seconds/ speed 5.
Add the olive oil and saute 5 minutes/ 120C/ REVERSE speed 2.
Add the chopped celery, carrots, courgette or fennel and saute 8 minutes/ 120C/ REVERSE speed 2.
Add the following to the TM bowl: tomatoes, red wine or unsalted vegetable stock, herbs, stock powder, sugar, fennel seeds and paprika. Cook 10 minutes/ 100 C/ REVERSE speed 2.
Finally, add the cooked lentils and cook a further 10 minutes/ 100 C/ REVERSE speed 2.
Check for seasoning and add some salt and ground pepper to suit your taste.
Whilst the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook the pasta of your choice. This quantity of sauce is enough for 500 g of dried pasta.
We served the dish with parmesan cheese and here is a recipe for vegan parmesan.
We are eating lots of vegetables and I will post some recipes using peppers and asparagus soon.