Monday, December 19, 2011

Lentil Tacos

When I read other food blogs around this time of year, I’m impressed and over-awed at the cookies and marshmallows and feasts that people crank out. I haven’t done much of anything for the holidays yet. We did get the (cheap, horrible-looking) fake tree put up and decorated, and a few of the nativity scenes arranged around the house, at least until the cats start playing with poor Joseph. Joseph always gets the short end of the stick.

Truth be told, I’m having a little trouble adjusting from my previous mindset of holiday = vacation to my current life of holiday = holy day = work. I’m on-call at the hospital Christmas and New Year’s weekends, and I’m serving at two Christmas Eve services Saturday night only to wake up the next morning and do Christmas morning services at the hospitals.

At first I was bummed. No sleeping in and cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning before opening presents. But I’m starting to come around. I get to celebrate Christmas with staff and families and perhaps some patients who would rather be somewhere else. I get to bring Christmas and some sense of normalcy to them. I get to be at a pediatrics hospital on Christmas morning with all of the festivity and donated presents that entails. So my Christmas won’t look like my previous Christmases, and my Christmas probably won’t look like your Christmas, but I think I’ll still get all of the joy and wonder. I’ll just have to relax on another day.

So this is not a Christmas meal. This is an anytime meal. Joe particularly liked this, I would guess due to the meaty texture of the lentils. The flavors are spot on, and the raisins add a hint of sweetness. If you don’t have any raisins, a tablespoon or so of brown sugar might also do the trick.


Lentil Tacos
serves 4
source: Runner’s World


1 cup onions, diced
1/4 cup celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup brown lentils, dry
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup water or vegetable broth (I had to add more liquid.)
3 tablespoons dried black currants or raisins, minced
1 cup salsa, plus additional for topping
8 6-inch corn or flour tortillas
shredded lettuce
chopped tomatoes
shredded cheddar cheese (optional)


In a large frying pan over medium heat, saute onions, celery, and garlic in the olive oil for five minutes or until vegetables are soft. Stir in the lentils, chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Cook for one minute. Add the broth and raisins. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender (add more water or broth as needed). Remove the lid and cook an additional 10 minutes (until lentils are thick), stirring often. Fold in the salsa. Wrap the tortillas in a damp white cotton towel and microwave on high for one minute. Spoon the lentil mixture among the tortillas. Top with lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese.