Friday, July 13, 2007

Baked Lentil Casserole And Curried Mushrooms In Pastry

I'll start off by saying if you don't like baked beans, you will not like these lentils, as that is essentially what they are. However, if you do like the taste of tomato and molasses-this casserole will blow your mind.

The mushroom pastry is sort of interesting in that the dough is made from cream cheese, butter and flour. I don't see why you couldn't use yoghurt in place of the cream cheese, as that's the basic flour I use for samosas though these are baked rather than fried. The original recipe called for a whopping 9 ounces of cream cheese! I made it with three and still had delicious dough that handled well.

For the Lentils:

(Pre-soak the lentils a good three hours before cooking).

1 lb. Lentils-sorted, washed and soaked
1 onion studded with 4 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
5 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
½ cup ketchup
¼ cup unsulphured molasses
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons chopped onion (dried ok)
½ teaspoon liquid smoke

Cook the lentils in a large pot with the onion, bay leaf and water. Simmer covered (with a crack to vent) for about ½ hour. Drain reserving 1 cup of liquid.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine everything else and mix with lentils and 1 cup of cooking water. Bake in a large, covered casserole for 45 minutes. Remove the cover and bake fifteen minutes more. I served it over rice, though you really don't need to. I do think it would make a killer baked potato topping.

For The Curried Mushroom Puffs:

3 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
½ cup butter at room temperature
1-½ cups flour

3 tablespoons butter
1 cup finely chopped scallions
½ pound finely chopped mushrooms
½ teaspoon salt
1-teaspoon curry powder
2 tablespoons flour
¼ cup heavy cream

Cream together the cream cheese and butter. Add the flour and mix/lightly knead until smooth. Wrap in plastic and chill a few hours.

Roll pastry out to 1/8 thickness and cut with a 3-inch biscuit cutter (or the bottom of a glass). Give it another roll to stretch it a bit and place the rounds on an ungreased baking sheet. When they are completed (you should get about 20) cover with plastic and return to the fridge while you make the filling.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a pan and sauté the scallions a few minutes until soft. Add the mushrooms and cook about three minutes until also softened. Add the curry and salt, mix well. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and then add the cream cooking s minute or so until thick. Remove from heat.

Place a teaspoon full on each round and then fold over and crimp closed with a fork. With a sharp knife, cut a small vent in each for steam. Bake 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned.

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