Friday, August 17, 2012

Ancho Lentil Tacos

The humble lentil. I often forget about lentils as an option, particularly in Mexican-flavored dishes, because black beans are the obvious choice. Abby introduced me to this dish from Post Punk Kitchen, and I made it for the opening dinner of my ordination weekend festivities. When I added it to last week’s menu, I realized that a) I hadn’t blogged it yet and b) it had been a while since I’d made it. Joe also gave that rare reaction that’s like, “Ancho lentil tacos for dinner? Yes!”

I was trying to steer away from the usual loads o’ carbs I normally eat, so I wrapped my taco filling in some Boston lettuce leaves. It was good, but I felt like such a girl eating stuff out of lettuce leaves. My point being that this filling is very versatile. You can wrap it in lettuce or tortillas or put it on top of a salad or just eat it plain. The cheese and sour cream/Greek yogurt un-veganize it, though I like the filling just as well with a squirt of lime, a slice of avocado, and some cilantro. You don’t even really need ancho chili powder (just sub regular chili powder), but it’s the smoky, roasted flavor that makes this so satisfying to me.

2012-08-08 19.05.57

Ancho Lentil Taco Filling
source: Post Punk Kitchen
Serves 3-4

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups cooked lentils (from about 1 cup dried)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons hot sauce

Spice mix:
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground ancho chile
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all of the ingredients for the spice mix and set aside. Also, keep a cup of water within reach, so that you can add splashes as you cook.

Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sautee the onion and garlic in the oil with a pinch of salt for about 3 minutes, until lightly browned. Add spices and toss them for 30 seconds or so to toast.

Lower heat to medium. Add lentils, a few splashes of water, tomato paste and hot sauce; use a spatula to mash them a bit as they cook, until they hold together. If your spatula isn’t strong enough to accomplish this, just use a fork. Do this for about 5 minutes, adding splashes of water as necessary if it appears dry. Taste for salt and seasoning; you may want to add more spices or hot sauce. Serve warm with the toppings of your choice.