You might have surmised that during Art Week, very little or no cooking takes place in my kitchen. To add to the go-slow, the theater where I work as an usher started their fall season with the show closed by COVID on Friday, 13 March. How fitting. Report time is 6:15 which means I’ll be trying to cook for the family in the afternoon.
I was able to sneak in one meal this past week. I was stimulated by a recipe in Wednesday’s newspaper. Wednesday is historically the day that one section of the paper is devoted to cooking and recipes. It’s when supermarkets release their weekly flyer advertising their specials and loss leaders.
The recipe that caught my eye was offered by one of our local cooking gurus, Linda Gassenheimer. She called it an “easy one-pot lamb recipe.” What made it easy? The use of frozen chopped onions and canned lentils, ingredients I rarely if ever use. Sometimes, if I find myself with too many onions, I chop them and freeze them for use another day. But I would rarely purchase the product. Canned lentils? Actually a friend gave me two cans, it might be soup come to think of it. I have no idea where they are because our home continues a siege zone because of the still-ongoing construction project, I have no idea where they are.
Interestingly, this “quick” dinner called for 4 cups of chopped fresh spinach. From time to time, I use frozen spinach. I’ve found it just as good at the fresh when used as an ingredient. So my version of this “Quick Fix” recipe took quite a bit longer.
Ingredients needed, olive oil, ¾ pound lamb cut in 1 inch cubes, 2 cups chopped onion, 2 teaspoons minced garlic, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 2 teaspoons, dried rosemary, 1 cup pasta sauce, 1 cup rinsed lentils, 4 cups spinach, ¼ cup cilantro (optional)
Note: I substituted the cumin with ground fennel, my daughter does not like fennel. I also added chopped parsnip and celery (had them in the fridge). In place of pasta sauce, I used wine. Because I used dried, rather than canned lentils, I added an additional cup of water. And … I do not soak my lentils and they often remain a bit crunchy. Don’t know why.
Heat oil in a skillet, add the lamb cubes and brown for 2-3 minutes; turn to brown all sides, add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from pan.
Add the onion and garlic to the pan, cook 2 minutes. Add the chopped celery and parsnips, if using. Add cumin and rosemary, cook 1 minute, Add the pasta sauce (and water) and lentils. Return the lamb and any drippings. Add the spinach. Cook until lentils soften. This dinner lasted several days. I scavenged in the fridge for other leftovers to accompany it: a bit of spaghetti that Constant Companion had prepared and some toasted breadcrumbs.