Like my new character Hayley Snow, I enjoy nothing better than a good chocolate cake, fried chicken, or macaroni and cheese. Or maybe pot roast with gravy and mashed potatoes and creamed spinach...or fried shrimp with key lime pie as dessert...
But we can't eat like that all the time, so I look for recipes that are heart and weight-healthy--and easy to whip up on the days I'm busy writing. Or days when Hayley is busy sleuthing...
She also has the disadvantage of living on an island where fresh produce is not so easy to find--and organic stuff, even harder. Luckily, there's a mini-farmer's market on Mondays at a little place called Help Yourself Foods, where we found the lacinto kale (less bitter than other varieties, to my mind.) And there's a neat little health food store, where we located the French green lentils.
(This recipe is adapted from the original at Epicurious.com.)
Lacinto Kale with Lentils and Pasta
1 32 oz. box natural beef broth
1/2 cup French green lentils
1 large onion, chopped
1 bunch lacinto kale, washed and chopped
1 cup alphabet pasta (or other of your choice)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Saute the onions in 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil over low heat until carmelized (nicely browned--15 to 20 minutes.) Don't skimp on this step as the onions give a lot of flavor to the dish!
While the onions are cooking, wash and sort the lentils and then simmer them until soft in the beef broth, about 25 minutes. Add the onions and bring to simmer again. Then add the pasta and the chopped kale. Simmer six minutes or so until everything is tender. This should be the consistency of a thick soup--add water or broth if needed.
Serve in soup bowls with lots of grated cheese and a dash of Tabasco sauce, if desired. You could make a salad and serve with bread too--but everything is really there in one pot!
This may sound too healthy and plain, but believe me, my husband and I fight over the leftovers for lunch the next day--if there are any!
Lucy Burdette is the author of the Key West food critic mysteries, including AN APPETITE FOR MURDER. You can follow her on facebook or twitter. She eats and writes in Connecticut and Key West.