So here I am, all alone, nobody but myself to cook for. Unless I'll make something real to eat I'll be snacking all day, so I think a nice little lentil stew is on order. And since I still have a few of Karin's beautiful eggs it'll get topped by a nice fried egg. Disclaimer - I got the initial inspiration from Food & Wine, but as always I used it as an inspiration, not a hard and fast recipe.
The lentils I have on hand are French lentils, which are great because they hold their shape, and I prefer their flavor over the garden variety brown lentils.
I start by finely chopping a small yellow onion. I love the Trader Joe's onions, in my opinion they have much more taste than their regular grocery store cousins that weight a pound each. Rummaging through the fridge I also find a carrot and the very last inner bits of a celery stalk. Chopped up it gets, along with two good size garlic cloves. It all gets sauteed in some olive oil.... Already smells good!
After a few minutes I add a 1/2 cup of lentils, and two cups of a tomato-y broth I have in the freezer. You can also use broth and tomato paste, or a cut up tomato. Bring everything to a boil, then simmer it on low for 1 hour or so. Once it all comes together I'll fry an egg in a good amount of olive oil, put the stew in a soup dish, top it with the egg including the oil, grate some nice salty cheese (in my case a goat Gouda that's too crumbly to slice) over it, and drizzle a bit of balsamic glaze on it. Oh, the yummy goodness you get when the egg yolk mixes with the stew and the cheese slowly melts in it!
Ok, I have to admit that it came out as sufficient for two, but I'll just BBQ some cube steak I have marinating for dinner today and have the second portion then!
Lentils for one (and a half)
1 small strong onion
2 cloves garlic
1 small carrot
1/2 rib of celery, or even better a bit of celery root
1/2 cup French lentils
2 cups broth
sharp cheese for grating, balsamic glaze to top
Finely chop the first four ingredients, sweat in a bit of olive oil. Add lentils and broth as well as the tomato. Let simmer for 1 hour. Fry the egg in olive oil, fill lentils in a soup plate, top with egg and olive oil, grated cheese, and balsamic glaze.
Note 1: I usually keep some veggie or meat stock in the freezer - when I have leftover veggies or scraps of meat I'll turn it into a broth by first browning it in a bit of oil, and then adding water and let it simmer for an hour or two. It's better than tossing the veggies, and gives you a nice stock for dishes like these.
Note 2: Balsamic glaze is really just a fancy name for reduced balsamic vinegar. Set a small pot of balsamic vinegar on the stove, and let it reduce until it's thickened and lost it's sharp vinegary taste.