When I think of lentils, the first thing that comes to mind is lentil soup, tasty, healthy, lentil soup. But is there more to the story of the lentil? Could the lentil have more to offer the world than backstroking in broth? Lentils range in color from yellow to red-orange to green, brown, and black. The seeds require cooking time from ten to forty minutes, depending on variety and if the husk is still on. I recently attended a private dinner with Chef Stephanie Izard and the folks at Canadian Lentils where she gave a masterclass demonstration in the art of lentils.
Stephanie Izard was the first female contestant to win Top Chef and she has taken off like a rocket. Her restaurants, Girl and the Goat and Little Goat Diner are culinary rites of passage in Chicago, so I was very excited to see what her custom menu would bring. Needless to say, Chef Izard did not disappoint.
My favorites from the evening included; mini lentil lobster bisque, beef and lentil dumplings, goat and lentil filled empanadas, and lentil shrimp satay. It was great seeing her and her team in action. Dishes were constantly flowing out the kitchen on the wings of her attentive staff. Chef Izard also took the time to do a cooking demonstration and explain common issues people run into when they are new to cooking lentils.
I enjoyed the taste of lentils before this experience. Now, I have a new found respect for all the ways I can use lentils in my own kitchen. Cheers to learning something new!