Sunday, February 19, 2006

Cheese and Lentil Gratin

This cheese and lentil gratin makes the perfect Winter supper. Its bright orange color will cheer your table and it packs a big cheese taste. It's one of those vegetarian entrees that easily satisfies the non-veggies. In fact, it's become the traditional veggie main dish for Thanksgiving/Christmas (and everyone has some).

I found the original recipe in The Sainsbury Book of Vegetarian Cooking by Carole Handslip - a slip of a book produced by the English supermarket chain, which I bought for 99 pence back in 1986. I've been making this dish every since. It's definitely good English cooking.

Here's my modified recipe:

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 large carrots, chopped
1 small leek, white part chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
3/4 cup red lentils
2 cups water
salt and pepper
6 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 egg, beaten
sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 350.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy medium saucepan and fry the onion until softened. Add the carrots, leek, and garlic and cook one minute. Add the water and red lentils and salt and pepper. Cover and bring to the boil then turn onto lowest heat and simmer for 20 minutes. The water will be absorbed into the lentil mixture.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes (to avoid stringy egg syndrome). Add the beaten egg and 3/4 of the cheese into the saucepan and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 11" x 8" earthenware dish.

Sprinkle the rest of the cheese and sesame seeds on top. Bake for 45 minutes.

Serve with ketchup, potatoes, and your green vegetable of choice.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an interesting use of red lentils! It would not have occurred to me to use sharp cheddar with red lentils, but now that I've seen the photo and the recipe it certainly looks good. I'll have to try it soon. By the way, thanks for listing me under "cool blogs"!

7:53 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Hi Brendon,

Thanks for visiting! The red lentil and cheddar cheese combo is a winner. In fact, I just found a recipe for Savory Lentil Loaf in Rose Elliott's Complete Vegetarian Cuisine that uses this combination. I'll have to try that one too.

8:03 AM  
Blogger K Allrich said...

I found your site via Brendon - this recipe looks delicious. I love gratins.

8:08 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Hi Karina,

Welcome and thanks for visting! I, too, love gratins, but many tend to be too rich for me. This one packs the cheese taste without that "I have to lie down" feeling.

9:46 AM  
Blogger Diane Daniel said...

Wow this is a great recipe and I could also see it as a nice stepping off point for some variations! Some things that come to mind are carmelized onions or roasted eggplant in place of the carrots.... maybe adding an herbal element too - some cilantro or parsley?
I can't wait to play with this one! Thanks for posting it!
I just found your blog via Cooking with Amy - so I'll be back :)

7:24 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Hi rainvalley,

Thanks for visiting! I'd love to hear how your adaptions play out. Please let me know if you post any so I can link. I think your ideas are great!

7:49 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

I found your site via This recipe looks really good; can't wait to try it! I am looking forward to browsing the rest of your site and finding more good veggie dishes! :-)

5:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great recipe! I was brought up on this dish and still cook it often. I also add a bit of Tobasco to give it that extra kick.

6:38 PM  
Anonymous Festie said...

I used to cook this dish for my children then they learnt to make it themselves ready for me when I got home from work. My son borrowed the Sainsbury vegetarian recipe book after he left home and I never saw it again - many house moves later and I think it's gone astray! Thank you for publishing this recipe, I'm so pleased to have it again.

8:35 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Hi Festie,

This is such an outstanding recipe. I'm so glad you found it here!


6:56 PM  

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