Ben's One Pot Wonder.
Our good friend and chef Ben Quinn shares his recipe for an over the fire cook up after a day by the shore.
This style of cooking has always worked for me even at the highest levels of cooking, restaurants and private dining. But it is in the field or on the shore where the comfort of this food really comes into its own. It can boost morale, give well needed sustenance and have healing powers! I guess that's why we call it soul food?
Braised Lentils, Pesto and Roast Veg.
Ingredients: serves 4
Lentils - puy or the like x 200g
Carrots - peeled x 3
Red onions x 2
Cabbage - savoy works well x ¼
Soft fresh herbs for the pesto - basil works well x 100g
Hazelnuts x 40g
Good olive oil - glug
Start with getting a nice pot to a medium heat (fire or stove top), place the lentils in the pan and stir with a little oil to toast. Add enough water to cover the lentils and just allow them to tick over for 20 mins or until you can squeeze them between thumb and forefinger, you should still have a lovely broth in the pan, if not, add a little water at this point.
While the lentils are cooking, simply put the carrots and onions in the ash of the fire or roast them in a hot oven, allow them to really char up on the skin, they will go lovely and sweet and take on a little smokey flavour. Once the onions feel soft and the carrots are dark all over, remove from the heat, allow to cool a little and simply scrape off the charred outer leaving soft, steamed carrot and sweet roasted onion. Now chop this haphazardly into the lentils.
To make the pesto, simply chop the hazelnuts and herbs together with a little salt until it resembles a nutty paste and you can really smell the herbs.
To serve, thinly chop up cabbage and place in the bottom of a bowl, pour over the lentils and roast veg and finish with a dollop of pesto. You will find the pesto can season the whole dish and the cabbage will retain a little bite.
Perfect after a cold water surf or a brisk coastal walk.