Saturday, October 17, 2009

Recipe #8/20: Green (Lentils), Eggs and Ham!

Hooray! Green, eggs and ham! Sure, the green does not refer to the eggs themselves but rather the color represents the type of lentils in the dish, but I thought it was fun and clever. Additionally, since the genesis of this project I have wanted to do some sort of roasted bone dish with lentils (the original idea was roasted oxtail bones, though perhaps that will still happen if I wander down to one of those awesome Vietnamese grocery stores), though in this case ham hock will have to do.

I must confess: the from-scratch dishes this project have been my favorite. By from scratch I don't refer to the ingredients (even though they for the most part are), but rather the ideology. Sure, it is always fun to try new recipes (like the ones in this blog, hint hint) but there is nothing like having seemingly nothing at home, but taking the few things that you do and making something delicious. So while recipes are good (especially for fickle things like baked goods), I strongly encourage you to experiment. Practice will help create natural associations to help make everything delicious!

Fun tangential food adventure today! The Puget Sound Mycological Society is having their annual Wild Mushroom Show this weekend. I saw about it a couple weeks ago and added it to my calendar, so today I figured I would check it out. After a modest seven dollar entrance fee, I entered what I can only describe as a fungal paradise. On a half dozen super-long tables, were over 200 mushrooms embedded in dirt-filled wooden square boats. They were labeled green, yellow or red: edible, untested/unpalatable, or poisonous. I've been wanting to do some foraging recently and this display just showed me how little I know. There was also a cooking demo (which affirmed my desire for boletes) as well as some vendors selling everything from foraging guidebooks to blocks embedded with spores to grow your own mushrooms at home. The last thing I did was listen to a lecture by Langon Cook, who has a blog about foraging and using found ingredients in recipes and has recently published a book. His talk was fascinating: dividing foraging into prime seasons with shellfish in winter, greens in spring, berries in summer and mushrooms in the fall. So many things growing in the wild that are so close to us here in the Pacific Northwest! I'm excited to start foraging!

This recipe turned out delicious. It is essentially just a variation of split pea and ham....just better. The one I made is essentially the same, except that I still had that extra package of beef chuck that was going to go bad, so I cubed it, browned it and added it in as well. Mmmmmm protein. Enjoy!

Green (Lentils), Eggs and Ham
Serves approx. four people

3 medium ham hocks
3 cups green lentils, picked over and rinsed
9 cups water
1 Tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
~4 eggs

Place 3 ham hocks on a foil-covered pan and roast in a 450F oven for 20 min. Combine lentils and water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and add the ham hocks and juices when they are done in the oven. Add salt and pepper and cook on low for 1.5 hours. Remove the hocks, shred available ham and add back to the pot (If this seems like too much work, you can always add the hock to your bowl and do it while eating). Serve immediately with a fried egg on top of each portion. (The lentils and ham keeps and reheats well...the egg less so).

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