Thursday, April 18, 2013

Lentil Tacos

Not only did we come home from our vacation feeling like fatted calves, but we also came home broke. I typically lean on legumes for my go-to broke-food, so I grabbed at my brown lentil stash for dinner. Some whole-wheat tortillas and an avocado laying innocuously around the pantry led my thoughts to Mexican flavors. I'd never made lentil tacos before; other household half was dubious when I announced my intentions, but these turned out to be outstanding. I wouldn't belittle the spiced lentils by calling them a "meat substitute", because I would gladly make these tacos again with or without meat in the house.

1 cup of lentils makes a lot of filling as I found out, so you'll easily have lunch for the next day or two. Man, are lentils the greatest, or what?

Lentil Tacos
Makes about 6-8 servings

*1 cup brown lentils
*3 cups water
*2 bay leaves
*Cooking oil
*3 cloves garlic, minced
*1 onion, finely chopped
*1 teaspoon dried oregano
*2 teaspoons chili powder
*1 teaspoon ground cumin
*1/2 teaspoon paprika
*1/4 teaspoon cayenne
*1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
*1 chipotle in adobo, seeded and minced, plus a little extra adobo sauce
*About 1/2 cup beef stock (or vegetable stock, if you'd like to keep this veggie-friendly)

Rinse your lentils well, pick over for stones 'n such, and put them in a pot with the water (unsalted) and a couple bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a strong simmer. Cook the lentils for about 25--45 minutes or until they are tender, adding in more water if necessary during cooktime. I've found that older lentils take longer to cook than you might think! Strain and remove the bay leaves; set aside.

Meanwhile, in a wide skillet over medium heat, saute the onion in a little slick of oil for 8-9 minutes before throwing in the garlic. Saute a few minutes more. Add the spices and stir for another minute. Lower the heat slightly and add the lentils, the chipotle, and about 2 tablespoons of beef stock. Mash the lentils roughly for a few minutes, adding a little more beef stock to wetten the mix to desired consistancy. Season to taste with S&P, and then dish out into the tortilla or shell of your liking. I garnished mine with a slice of avocado, a squeeze of lime, shreds of smoked gouda, diced tomato and hot sauce, but feel free to dress yours in any way you see fit!

Hard taco shells or soft whole-wheat flour tortillas - both work equally well for tacos!

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