In the Four Hour Body, Tim recommends buying canned beans and lentils because they’re quick and easy. True, and if that’s the only way you’re going to incorporate them into your eating, plan, go for the cans.
The downside to can beans is that there can be a lot of sodium. Yes, of course you can rinse, but according to Eating Well magazine’s nutritional analysis, rinsing canned beans thoroughly removes up to 35 percent of sodium. If you’re watching your sodium intake, you may want to try cooking your own.
Canned beans are also considerably more expensive. On average in Australia, a small bag of dried lentils will yield me 10-12 servings and is about $3.00. A single can on lentils range anywhere from .75 to $1.75 – not horrifically expensive by any means, but if your household is consuming lentils at the same rate as mine, this savings does add up. Things are a bit more expensive in Australia as well, so I’d imagine you can get bulk lentils fairly cheap in the US at a local market or co-op, like Rainbow Grocers in San Francisco.
The basic preparation for lentils is the same, no matter what the end recipe. I do a large batch and put the lentils into containers to refrigerate and then make smaller batches with different seasonings throughout the week. My favorite recipe is still Spiced Bacon Lentils. You can also also cook in a broth or stock and add spices in directly during the cooking process.
Here is the basic recipe:
Rinse the lentils thoroughly in cold water, removing any leaves, twigs, or stones
Cover the lentils with cold water, using 4 cups of water for each cup of lentils.
Bring the water to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer.
Cook the lentils for 35-45 minutes, or until tender.
The best way to add some variety to those lentils you’re likely or supposed to be consuming every day: stock and spices. With those two additions, they’re actually quite addicting.
Now, two quick confessions. 1) I normally prefer meat stock to veggie stock 2) Until I started Slow Carb, I’d never made my own stock before.
Prior to Slow Carbing, I only really used stock for actual soups on the rare occasion I made a soup requiring it or to cook rice (much better than cooking in water if you’ve never tried it.) With that said, I was pleasantly surprised with how good this veggie broth is.
I reached out to a few friends for suggestions, and here are the results of my first attempt at veggie stock.
1-2 onions, quartered
5-6 garlic cloves, smashed or chopped coarsely
2 stalks of celery, washed and chopped into a few large pieces so they fit in the pot
3 or 4 carrots washed and chopped into a few large pieces (no need to peel, just wash first or throw in some baby carrots)
Any other veggies (or veggie scraps) you have on hand – turnips, cabbage, spinach, pumpkin, mushrooms, tomatoes, etc.
Sea Salt or Veggie Salt
12 cups water
Put 3 cups of water into a stockpot or any large pot. Turn heat to medium-high heat until boiling.
Add onions and garlic and simmer over medium heat until liquid reduces to almost nothing.
Add the rest of the water and other vegetables.
Add 1-2 Tbs of Italian Style Seasonings. I’m partial to Penzey’s Tuscan Sunset, but any sort of Italian herbs with no sugar or additives will do. Some people put their herbs in cheesecloth, but I don’t bother.
Simmer for about 90 minutes. Taste the stock. If it’s full-bodied, it’s done. If not, keep simmering a bit longer.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Approximately 1 Tbs of Sea Salt or Veggie Salt should do.
Strain veggies and collect stock in a jar or another pot if you’re planning on cooking right away. The stock should keep for 3-5 days in the fridge.
TIP #1 – Keep a pyrex container in the fridge to save your veggie scraps throughout the week to make a stock.
TIP #2 – Depending on what veggies you used for your stock, you can use the leftover, strained veggies in a lentil dish. They’ll be nice an softened already.
TIP # 3 – Freeze stock into ice cubes or quart-sized ziplock bags to use.
In case you haven’t guessed yet, I love lamb. It’s not as common or cheap in the US as it is in Australia, and Tim doesn’t specifically address eating lamb in his book, but a reasonably lean cut of lamb is likely comparable to eating a lean cut of beef.
This great meal for a special occasion or entertaining when you want to pretend you aren’t on a diet, this recipe is “lick the plate” delicious. Seriously, I’ve had guests ask me if it’d be rude for them to lick their plates!
I initially started making this recipe because I wanted to find a way to use all the fresh herbs I was growing on my balcony. Fresh is always best and more flavorful, but you can certainly used dried as well.
6 -8 lamb chops (lamb bbq chops)
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1.5 cups sliced mushrooms
1 Tbs finely chopped rosemary
1 Tbs finely chopped parsley
1 Tbs finely chopped thyme
2 Tbs butter or ghee
1 Tbs macadamia nut oil
1 cup dry red wine
If there’s a lot of visible fat on the edges, you can cut it off, but I usually leave a bit of marbling in the middle. Perfectly OK for Slow Carbing.
Season the chops well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat the oil in a large frying pan on medium-high. When quite hot, put in the chops and sear them on both sides till golden brown. Remove the chops to a warm plate.
Reduce the heat to low, and remove any excess fat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally until caramelized a bit. Increase the heat to medium, and add the mushrooms. Sauté for until golden brown – about 5 minutes.
Put the chops back in the pan, pour on the red wine, and sprinkle on the rosemary, parsley and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for a couple of minutes until the sauce has thickened a bit. You may need to turn the heat up a bit to get the sauce to thicken. Stir in the butter.
Serve chops covered with mushrooms and sauce alongside a simple vegetable, such as green beans or a green salad.