This is a family favourite and also quick to prepare. I have for years been making this without reference to the original recipe, that started it all off for me. I looked again in Sarah Brown’s Vegetarian Cookery, as much as anything to see what I am doing differently now. Not too much it would seem. The original recipe called for 3 tablespoons of cream to be stirred into the mix before baking, which I do not do.
Anyway here is my take on it, and I don’t recall too many complaints along the way.
Serves 4. Preparation 10 minutes. Cooking 1 hour
175 gm/6 oz/1 cup red lentils
350 ml/12 fl oz water
110 gm/4 oz/ 2/3rds cup cheddar or parmesan, grated, saving a little for the topping
1 medium/large onion finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 rounded teaspoon mixed dried herbs
1 level teaspoon dried chili flakes
1 large egg beaten
Salt and pepper
1 dessertspoon lemon juice (optional)
Put the lentils (see Cooking to save Money and Time tips) and about ¾ of the water into a pan, cover and boil gently for about 10 minutes, check and add more water if needed. Boil,covered, for a further 5 minutes on a much reduced heat. You should finish with a stiff puree.
Remove from the heat and add the cheese, onion, garlic, herbs, chilli flakes and lemon. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Now add the egg and stir in to the mix.
Turn this mix into a greased and lined 450 gm/1 lb loaf tin, pressing down to fill the corners.
Sprinkle the remaining cheese on the top.
Put into a pre-heated oven set at 190 C/375 F/Gas 5/moderate hot, middle shelf for about 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the mixture is firm.
Remove from the oven and allow it to stand for 10 minutes, before turning it out onto a serving plate.
Serve with a tomato based sauce (see my recipe for this) and steamed broccoli or vegetables of your choice. This is just as good eaten cold with a salad, and it freezes well.