Chocolate Week 1: It’s the start of chocolate week, so of course you start with something savoury! Er…
This recipe is inspired by a beef, stout beer, and chocolate stew that SortedFood made, but I wanted to make it vegetarian. It was an experiment, and here are the results.
I was incredibly frustrated with this recipe, because I couldn’t find many of the ingredients I wanted – so I had to make do with substitutes which weren’t as good (Lager instead of Stout, dry instead of fresh herbs). I’ve described the actual recipe, so please excuse the photos.
I liked the end product, but it might not be for everybody. The idea is that lentils, mushrooms, beer, and chocolate all have earthy flavours, but if you’re not keen on experimentation, leave the lentils out, and make a mushroom stew – that will be safe and excellent.
Here’s the recipe (serves 4).
|Lentils||1 cup||200g||Experiment. I used green lentils.|
|Stout Beer||500ml||Get a chocolate stout if you can.|
|Dark Chocolate||5 tsp||25g||70% or higher chocolate|
|Herbs||1 sprig each||Rosemary and Thyme.|
|Potatoes||4-6 large||1kg||For French Fries.|
|Oil for frying|
|Salt, Pepper||Seasoning. Also consider dry herbs.|
- Wash lentils in cold water twice and soak for an hour. They’ll become larger from absorbing water.
- Chop the onion and garlic fine. Saute them in a little oil till soft.
- When the onions lose their colour, they’ve softened. At this point, add the lentils and keep agitating the pan to keep them moving. Do this for about 3 minutes.
- Chop up the mushrooms into bite size pieces and toss them into the lentils. Continue sauteing the mix, occasionally stirring or agitating the contents until the mushrooms soften and start to change colour.
- Pour in the beer. Gently stir the mixture, and let the beer start to cook off.
- Add the herbs – strip the rosemary and thyme and add the leaves to the mix.
- Add a couple of spoons of flour to thicken the stew. Continue cooking until relatively thick.
- Grate your chocolate and add it to the stew. Let it melt and stir well.
- Optionally, add a pinch of sugar if the stew is too bitter.
- Add the butter, and serve hot over fries for a very comforting dish, or on top of rice for a regular meal.
- Let the oil heat up while you cut the potatoes to your desired thickness. If you like thicker fries, consider leaving the skin on for an added depth of flavour, otherwise peel your fries.
- Test the oil. Drop in a small piece of bread or a cumin seed. It should float within a couple of seconds.
- Divide your potatoes into batches and fry them accordingly. Keep the flame on low and using the proper handling equipment, fry a batch for 3-4 minutes till you see the skin tighten. The potatoes will still be the same colour.
- Fish the fries out carefully and slowly shake off excess oil. Let the fries rest on some newspaper or kitchen roll, while you do the same for other batches.
- At this point, you can store the fries for the future if you like – put them in an airtight bag and store in the freezer.
- Turn the flame up to high and re-fry your partially fried potatoes. Fry them until they turn a pale brown. Don’t brown them too much because then they don’t have a soft interior and are no fun to eat.
- Once all batches are fried, toss the fries in salt and pepper. For variation, replace pepper with red chilly powder, dried oregano, or garlic powder.
Customisations: As mentioned, leave out the lentils if you’re not comfortable combining them with chocolate. If you’re into meat, try putting oven-roasted chicken slices into the stew. Some bacon bits are good too. If you like beef, you might want to try the original recipe by SortedFood.
Thank you for checking out Recipe Lab and Chocolate Week 1! If you like this recipe, leave me a comment below telling me about the recipe and your preferences.