lentil loaf

I've never been a fan of meatloaf.  In fact, my grandmother once put a slab of it on a burger bun in an attempt to get me to believe it was a hamburger.  Yeah, right!

So, it's peculiar that I've even wanted to make a lentil loaf.  But, I do sometimes get tired of ethnic-inspired dishes, and there's nothing quite like American comfort food to help me through pangs of homesickness.  Now, here we have a good old American faux-meatloaf, complete with homemade barbeque glaze.

 2 cups water
1 cup red lentils
1 onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 garlic clove, pressed
3/4 cup quick oats
1/4 cup bread crumbs
3/4 cup shredded cheddar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup ketchup
2 t worchestershire
1 t liquid smoke
1/2 t adobo
1/4 t black pepper

BBQ Glaze
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar

Add the lentils to 2 cups of boiling water and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the lentils are soft and most of the water is absorbed.  Then strain them, this is key because if the lentils are too wet, the loaf will not set properly.  It took me a couple of times to get this part right.

While the lentils are cooking, sauté the onion and celery in a bit of oil until it begins to soften and the onions begin to caramelize, then add the garlic and sauté few more minutes.

Let the lentils cool a bit.  Stir in the celery, onions, garlic, oats, bread crumbs, and cheese, then stir in the rest of the ingredients.  At this point, it should be the consistency of... well, ground meat mixed with eggs, etc.  It should be sticky, but not wet, slightly stiff, maybe a bit wetter than cookie dough.  You'll have to use your cook's intuition here ;)

Pour it into a greased loaf pan; I use a medium size pan.  Smooth it out, and bake it at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

While that's happening, whisk together the ketchup, ACV, and brown sugar.  Taste and adjust.  Ketchup in Denmark tends to be sweeter and less acidic than in the US, so don't take my proportions as gospel.

After 30 minutes, pour a bit of the glaze on top of the loaf and bake it another 15 minutes, or until it seems firm and you can stick a knife in the middle and it comes out clean.

Let it cool for 10 minutes or so, then turn it out onto a platter, slice it, and serve it with the remaining bbq goodness.

I find that the texture of this lentil loaf improves after it cools, so it's actually better the second day.  Consider cooking it a day ahead, then reheating it.  It'll be firmer and easier to deal with, but it's great out of the oven, too, though for aesthetic reasons, you might not want to serve it to company :)

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