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
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.