We are really giving it to you here! A restaurant-ified dish made at home with very little mess and fuss. Our kind of food! It also happens to be outrageously good for you. This is utter, guilt-free indulgence.
These stacks sound quite complex, but are actually anything but. In fact, it would be a good restaurant dish for the same reasons. It’s simplicity. A few ingredients speaking nicely together all wrapped up in a creamy lentil sauce.
If you meet a vegan/ vegetarian who says they don’t like Portobello mushrooms, look them right in the eye and repeat the question very slowly and slightly suspiciously. “Are you sure????” They may be an undercover carnivore. All veggies like Portobello mushroom, they are so flavoursome and have a magnificent texture. They can be used in all sorts of ways to sate even the most ferocious of carnivores. Some whack them in a burger, other use them as a base for stacking fun and games (that’s me).
Hazelnut tofu is not that easily sourced, but you can always use firm tofu instead. I’d recommend marinating it in a fridge for a while. Press the tofu to get rid of most of the excess moisture and then glug a little tamari (or good soya sauce) over the top. Toss the tofu in the tamari and leave for a couple of hours before use. Hazelnut tofu can be bought in health food shops and the like, it can also be ordered online and is one of Jane and I’s favourite treat bites.
You would like the lentils quite thin, it is a sauce by name after all. Add a little more water to make it the consistency of a thick gravy. Leeks, how we have missed them. Most of our recent dishes have revolved around the mighty leek. Wales does many things well; sunsets, leeks and hail stones and you can only eat one of them.
The Bits – For 2 (as a big plate) or 4 (as a little plate)
Red Lentil Sauce
1 tbs olive oil
3 garlic cloves (peeled and finely sliced)
2 tomatoes (roughly chopped)
200g red lentils (well washed and rinsed)
1/2 teas dried thyme
Leek Greens (finely sliced, see below)
1 pack hazelnut tofu (roughly 250g, cut into 8, 1 cm thick slices)
4 large Portobello Mushrooms
2 leeks (washed well, green part cut off and finely sliced, white part cut length ways into quarters and then sliced into 4, 3 inch pieces/ chunks)
1 whole head garlic (seperated into individual cloves, skins still on. Use three of the cloves for the lentil sauce)
A good drizzle of olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
Something green (preferably a little fresh thyme, parsley or even finely sliced spinach – as I used here)
Wash your lentils well, cover them with fresh water and drain. Keep doing this until the water is clear. Grab a medium sized saucepan and add 1 tbs oil, warm on a medium heat and then add the sliced garlic, stir and fry for a minute, then add the chopped tomatoes, stir well. Pop a lid on and allow to bubble on a fast simmer for 5 minutes.
Now add the lentils and water, turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Drop a lid on and lower the heat to a steady simmer. Cook for 15 minutes. Stir in the leek greens and the thyme, place the lid back in and cook for a further 20 minutes. Adding more water to make thick, gravy like consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
Preheat and oven to 180oC.
Line a baking tray with baking parchment, drizzle over a little oil and rub over the tray with your hand. Then lay out all of your veggies onto the tray, including the tofu. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pop in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, remove the mushrooms and tofu, turn over the leeks and garlic, place them back into the oven for 10 minutes (if they need them, they should be nice and soft with the occasional caramelised hue).
Assembly job – in a warm serving dish (or you can serve each stack individually on warm plates). Cut your tofu in half lengthways, pop the garlic out of their skins (they should not need much encouragement). Now place two pieces of leek and two cloves of garlic onto a mushroom and top those with four nice slices of tofu (criss-crossed looks cool). You can put these back in the oven on a low heat to keep warm until serving.
Pour a thick layer of lentil sauce over your serving dish/ plate and gently place one of your towering stacks on top. Sprinkle with something green, a little more seasoning with salt and pepper and a slight drizzle of good olive oil.
Foodie Fact – Leeks
Leeks can be a little overlooked from a nutritional point of view, their more popular cousins the onion and garlic get all the attention. This means there isn’t as much nutritional info out there about them. However, we know that leeks are champions of Vitamin K (see our last article, No-Knead Everyday Loaf, for more on ‘K’). We also know that they are high in Manganese (good for bones and skin) and Folates (Vitamin B’s that keep our cardiovascular system in order).
Probably the most interesting thing about Leeks are their history. They originate from Central Asia (not Wales) and were highly revered by the Romans, in fact Emperor Nero used to eat alot of leeks to help give him a strong voice. Leeks were in fact introduced to the UK by the Romans and are probably most famous for being worn in the helmets the Welsh army, who defeated the Saxons in 1620.
Read more excellent nutritional info here.