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(Plain Cookery Book For The Working Classes)

Lentils are a species of vetches much in use in France as a staple

article of food in the winter; there are two sorts, those denominated

"a la reine," a small brown flat-looking seed, while the other sort is

somewhat larger--of the size of small peas, and flat; both sorts are

equally nutritious, and are to be treated in exactly the same way as

herein indicated for cooking haricot beans.

These, as well as haricot beans, may be boiled with a piece of bacon.

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Pick and wash one-half pound of lentils and soak them in cold water
overnight. In the morning put them over the fire in a large saucepan
with about a quart of water. As soon as the water begins to boil, the
lentils will rise to the top. Remove them with a skimmer, put them in a
baking dish with one small onion and three or four ounces of smoked fat
meat in the centre, and pour over them a pint of boiling water, in which
one-half teaspoon of salt and one-quarter teaspoon of pepper have been
mixed. Bake in a moderate oven four or five hours. The lentils must be
kept moist and it may be necessary to add a little water from time to

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Any cold lentils left make a very nice breakfast dish if they are
curried. If there should be any curry gravy left,
put them into that and simmer for half an hour; serve with boiled rice.
If there is no curry sauce, make a little by a recipe given elsewhere.
1 bunch Beetroot--2d.

2 Onions--1/2d.

1 oz. Flour

Mashed Potatoes

Pepper and Salt

1 1/2 oz. Butter

1/2 pint Milk

1 dessertspoonful Vinegar--3d.

Total Cost--51/2 d.

Time--Half an Hour.

Peel and cut the onions into dice, put them into a frying-pan with the
butter, and fry, but do not let them brown; sprinkle in the flour, pour
in the milk, and stir until it boils. Season with salt, pepper, and
vinegar. Boil the beetroot carefully, and when cold, peel and slice up.
Put it into the sauce and simmer for half an hour. Make the mashed
potatoes into a border on a hot dish, and put the beetroot in the
centre; boil up the sauce, pour it over, and serve.

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Baden Stewed Lentils.

Chop and mince 1 pound of round steak, 1 onion and 2 sprigs of
parsley. Add 1 tablespoonful of lemon-juice, 2 tablespoonfuls of
melted butter. Season highly with salt, black pepper and a pinch of
cayenne. Mix with 1 egg and form into balls; roll in flour and fry in
deep hot lard until brown. Serve hot with tomato-sauce.

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Next in usefulness to the haricot bean comes the German lentil. This

must not be confounded with the Egyptian lentil, which closely resembles

the split pea; for not only is the former double the price of the

latter, but I may add double its worth also, at least from a culinary

point of view.

In vegetarian cookery the lentil takes the place of the dark meats of

the flesh-eaters' dietary, such as beef and mutton, the haricot bean

supplying a substitute for the white, such as veal, chicken, etc.

The liquor in which lentils have been boiled forms a rich foundation

for dark sauces, also a delicious and nourishing beverage, in flavour

resembling beef-tea, can be obtained from them (see Recipe No. 12).

Besides being darker in colour, the flavour of lentils is much more

pronounced than that of haricots.

Throughout the following recipes the word "lentil" means German lentil,

without exception.

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Curried Lentils

1/4 pint soaked lentils.

1 pint water.

1 1/2 ounces butter.

1 small apple.

1 onion.

A pinch of powdered mace.

1 teaspoon flour.

1 teaspoon salt.

6 peppercorns.

1/2 teaspoon white sugar.

1 teaspoon curry powder.

2 teaspoons vinegar.

Simmer the lentils with the peppercorns (tied up in a piece of muslin)

and mace for one hour, add the salt, remove the peppercorns and strain.

In the meantime slice the onion, mince the apple, and fry them together

in the butter for ten minutes, place in a stewpan together with two

tablespoons of the lentils, the sugar, flour and curry powder, mix well

together, add the liquor of the lentils, and simmer for half an hour,

stirring frequently; add the vinegar before serving. Serve rice in a

separate dish.

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Potted Lentils

1 quart soaked lentils.

1 quart water.

4 ounces butter.

1 teaspoon salt.

A pinch of sweet herbs.

6 cloves.

6 allspice.

12 peppercorns.

1 inch cinnamon stick.

A piece of mace size of a shilling.

Dissolve the butter in a saucepan, then place in all the ingredients

except the salt. Remove the scum as it rises. Boil one hour, add salt,

boil again half an hour, then remove the lid and stir constantly for

another half hour, or until the lentils are reduced to a thick pulp. Rub

through a wire sieve with a wooden spoon until only the husks remain.

When quite cold, place in a dish or jar, and pour oiled butter over the

top to exclude the air. It will keep good for some days.

Note.--The thick remaining in the sieve may be re-boiled for stock.

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Importance Of Peas Beans And Lentils

Before giving you receipts for cooking peas, beans, and lentils, I want

to show you how important they are as foods. I have already spoken of

the heat and flesh forming properties of food as the test of its

usefulness; try to understand that a laboring man needs twelve ounces

and a half of heat food, and half an ounce of flesh-food every day to

keep him healthy. One pound, or one and a quarter pints of dried peas,

beans, or lentils, contains nearly six ounces of heat food, and half an

ounce of flesh food; that is, nearly as much heat-food, and more than

twice as much flesh food as wheat. A little fat, salt meat, or suet,

cooked with them, to bring up their amount of heat-food to the right

point, makes either of them the best and most strengthening food a

workingman can have. The only objection to their frequent use is the

fact that their skins are sometimes hard to digest; but if you make them

into soup, or pudding, rubbing them through a sieve after they are

partly cooked, you will be safe from any danger.

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Lentils have been used for food in older countries for a long

time, and it is quite necessary that we should become acquainted with

their merits if we want to save; I give a lentil soup, and some

excellent directions for cooking this invaluable food. One quart of

lentils when cooked will make four pounds of hearty food. There are two

varieties in market; the small flat brown seed, called lentils a la

reine; and a larger kind, about the size of peas, and of a greenish

color; both sorts are equally well flavored and nutritious; they cost

ten cents a pound, and can be bought at general groceries. The seed of

the lentil tare, commonly cultivated in France and Germany as an article

of food, ranks nearly as high as meat as a valuable food, being capable

of sustaining life and vigor for a long time; this vegetable is

gradually becoming known in this country, from the use of it by our

French and German citizens; and from its nutritive value it deserves to

rank as high as our favorite New England Beans.

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Lentils Boiled Plain

Wash one pound, or one full pint of lentils,

(cost ten cents,) well in cold water, put them over the fire, in three

quarts of cold water with one ounce of drippings, one tablespoonful of

salt, and a saltspoonful of pepper, (cost about one cent,) and boil

slowly until tender, that is about three hours; drain off the little

water which remains, add to the lentils one ounce of butter, a

tablespoonful of chopped parsley, a teaspoonful of sugar, and a little

more salt and pepper if required, (cost about three cents,) and serve

them hot. Always save the water in which they are boiled; with the

addition of a little thickening and seasoning, it makes a very

nourishing soup.

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Stewed Lentils

Put a pint of plain boiled lentils into a sauce pan,

cover them with any kind of pot-liquor, add one ounce of chopped onion,

two ounces of drippings, quarter of an ounce of chopped parsley, and

stew gently for twenty minutes; serve hot. This dish costs about ten


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