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Saturday, January 9, 2016

Salsa Verde Lentil Tacos with Pomegranate-Blood Orange Pico


I struggle to take amazing looking photos of soft tacos -- I told Dave we might need to become hard shell taco people for this very reason. Although my photos might not do this taco justice, I can assure you that it was amazingly weird and delicious. Dave commented that he's sure he's never had anything quite like this before -- but I promise that he meant that in a good way.

Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen.

Ingredients:
Pico
-1 blood orange, supremed and diced
-Seeds from 1/2 of a pomegranate (about 1/2 cup)
-1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
-1 tablespoon minced chives

Lentils & Sauce
-1 1/2 cups water
-3/4 cup uncooked green lentils
-1 pound tomatillos
-1 poblano pepper
-3 unpeeled cloves garlic
-1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
-1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
-Salt and pepper, to taste
-8 corn tortillas (gluten free)
-Mozzarella, shredded


First make the pico: Add blood orange, pomegranate, chives, and lime juice to a medium bowl; stir until just combined. Cover and place in fridge until tacos are ready to serve.

Next make the lentils: Add 1 ½ cups of water and lentils to a medium pot and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 25-35 minutes or until lentils are fork tender and water has absorbed completely (keep an eye on them, don't let them over cook). Once lentils are cooked, drain out excess water from pot and remove from heat.

While lentils are cooking, make the tomatillo sauce: Remove husks from tomatillos and rinse them under warm water; cut in half and place cut side down on a foil-lined pan along with garlic, and the poblano pepper. Place under the broiler for 8-10 minutes or until the skin of the tomatillos and peppers are dark golden brown and somewhat blackened. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Once cooled enough to handle, peel the blackened skin from poblano pepper and discard. Remove the roasted garlic cloves from their skin and add to a medium sized container along with the rest of the poblano pepper (stem and skin removed) and tomatillos. Add in the lime juice. I used my immersion blender to blend the ingredients into a smooth sauce. It only took a few pulses to do so, everything will be pretty soft.

Stir in 1 cup of tomatillo sauce into cooked lentils, then add salt and pepper to taste. Reserve extra sauce for garnish.

To assemble your tacos fill each shell with about 1/4 cup of lentils, followed by the cheese, a tablespoon or so of the pomegranate-blood orange pico, then add a little more of the minced chives.
  

For some reason this combination just really works. I was a little skeptical about the salsa verde and citrus, but the two complement each other nicely. The lentils really help to add substance to the taco, but they would also be very tasty on their own. I think this taco would benefit nicely from some heat, if you wanted to add a spicy little sauce to the top or even a spicy crema, it would pair nicely with the savory, sweet, and tart flavor profile that is already there. 

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