Menu 27: Spanish Lentils and Sachertorte

These choices were left over from the original picks from our Gutsy cooks – Cynthia and Sam of Samcyn’s Edible Adventures.  And oh boy do they sound good. 

  • Spanish Lentils – page 214
  • Sachertorte – page 416

Did you know that lentil is a pulse, which is a bushy annual plant of the legume family, grown for its lens-shaped seeds? The plant likely originated in the Near East, and has been part of the human diet since the aceramic (non-pottery producing) Neolithic times, being one of the first crops domesticated in the Near East. With approximately 26% of their calories from protein, lentils and generally any pulses or legumes have the third-highest level of protein, by weight, of any plant-based food after soybeans and hemp and is an important part of the diet in many parts of the world, especially in the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent which has large vegetarian populations.

Lentils have a mild, often earthy flavor, and they’re best if cooked with assertive flavorings.  The best, most delicate lentils are the peppery French green lentils. These hold their shape well, but take longer to cook than other lentils. The milder brown lentils also hold their shape after cooking, but can easily turn mushy if overcooked.  Indian markets also carry a wide variety of split lentils, called dal.   Before cooking, always rinse lentils and pick out stones and other debris.  Unlike dried beans and peas, there’s no need to soak them.  Lentils cook more slowly if they’re combined with salt or acidic ingredients, so add these last, after they are cooked. 

I’m really looking forward to this dish, mainly because I love lentils and how can anyone pass a dish that not only has chorizo but bacon as well – it’s a total win-win.

For a sweet choice they picked the Sachertorte, which is one of the most famous Viennese culinary specialties. The Original Sachertorte is only made in Vienna and Salzburg, and is shipped from both locations. The only place where the Original Sacher Torte is available outside of Austria is in the Sacher shop of Bolzano, Italy.  The cake even has it’s own web site and you can read all about it’s history there and I highly suggest you watch the video, so you can drool and the covet one of those nice wooden boxes (anyone has a trip planned to Vienna in the near future?).  But if you are up to, TKB gives you an almost close second to making this at home.  The only tip I could give you is to add a splash of apricot brandy to the apricot preserved.

I was excited with each of your creations of the Cassoulet this past week, so I’m going to bet you are going to blow me away again with this weeks choices.

Be gutsy my fellow cooks!