Wine&Dine: Lentils & Chianti

As rain and wind howled round the house we didn’t feel like going out to do some much needed shopping. What to eat? We were out of almost everything. Spouse muttered “pizza” and “delivery,” but seeing my not too enthusiastic reaction retreated to the utility room cum pantry to do a last and thorough inspection. A celeriac, a piece of chorizo, some lentils. That would do fine for a simpler version of Stephanie Alexander’s “Celeriac sautéed with lentils and walnut oil.” (See her The Cook’s Companion – it really is a companion.)

Dine: Celeriac sautéed with lentils
(1) Heat olive oil and fry onion and garlic, add not too small cubes of celeriac and a bay leaf. After a while add lentils, a twig of rosemary, some fresh oregano and stock. Cook over a moderate heat till lentils are tender but not mashed. The liquid should be almost gone. Discard rosemary, oregano and the bay leaf (lest it settles on your windpipe). Stir in chopped parsley (leave a little aside), pepper, salt to taste.
(2) In the meantime, cut the chorizo in small pieces (1 cm) and fry them in their own fat. Discard fat and lay aside.
(3) Meanwhile, cut some celeriac in julienne and fry in a little vegetable oil until brown. Lay aside, sprinkle with a little sea salt to taste.
(4) Ladle a generous portion of the lentils on a deep plate, sprinkle with walnut oil (if you happen to have it) and a little sherry vinegar (idem). This adds to the nutty, earthy taste of the lentils. We forgot but our two “side dishes” made up for it. Add the chorizo. Top it off with some fried celeriac and parsley.

poggerinoWine: Fattoria Poggerino – Chianti Classico DOCG 2009
Radda in Chianti, 14%vol, by Piero and Benedetta Lanza, € 14,95, for sale here.
The sweetish celeriac, the earthiness of the lentils and the fatty sharpness of the chorizo need a firm but not too firm red wine. One that won’t overrule the celeriac nor be overruled by the chorizo. This Chianti did the job alright. It’s a smooth, well-structured and well-balanced wine. Ruby-red in colour with aromas of red fruit, blackberry, elderberry and laurel. The wine has spent one year in barriques.