Cooking On A Budget: Middle Earth Lentil and Kielbasa Casserole

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Middle Earth Lentil and Kielbasa Casserole

Inspired by Tolkien's "The Trilogy" comes a dish from a dear and long time friend Kathy.

It seems like only yesterday we were winding our way through the shire hanging out with Bilbo and Frodo Baggins taking a three book journey through Middle Earth. Spell bound by every page we read, Kathy and I could not wait for our next tea session to discuss the happenings, taking care that neither of us spoiled it for the other. You see Kathy had actually already read the book and me, well as usual I was one step behind and she decided to re-read it while I was reading it for the very first time. I was so excited to read it that I went to our nearest local bookstore and purchased a beautiful hard copy set that I just passed along to my youngest son.
Back in the day Kathy being the creative genius she's always been decided that we should have another "chip in" dinner and base it on Middle Earth. The six of us were to make dishes inspired by the books. I do not recall what I made for that dinner party, but this recipe was something special and I asked her for it and have kept it ever since. When I am eating this I feel like I am dining with masters Bilbo and Frodo!

  • 1 cup rinsed brown lentils
  • 1 lbs. kielbasa cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 2 medium onions - finely chopped
  • 1 medium can diced tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves - minced
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. light brown sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • cooking spray
  1. Cook the lentils in salted boiling water for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and reserve liquid.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the onions and garlic and cook until softened.
  3. Add in the chopped tomatoes and cook over medium to medium high heat until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  4. Next add in the cooked lentils, the kielbasa, brown sugar, pepper, bay leaf and salt to taste.
  5. Add in some (about 1/2) of the reserved lentil liquid.
  6. Pour into a sprayed casserole dish, cover and bake at 350° for about an hour.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 1/2 hours
Serves: 6

This dish was originally served with either pita bread or naan for a more authentic feel. I love the lovely garlic flavor that bandies about this dish. There's just the right amount of heat from the pepper too! It's an earthy dish filled with lots of healthy goodness from the lentils and tomatoes.

So the next time you are planning a movie marathon of the Lord of The Rings Trilogy, think about making this simple and delicious Middle Earth Lentil and Kielbasa Casserole.

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