Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spiced Lentil, Sweet Potato, and Kale Whole Wheat Pockets

You need to get excited about this meal.  I kind of get the feeling that you won't, though.  You are going to be skeptical because the ingredients might seem a little weird, and no, there's no meat.  But the bottom line is that you are basically making healthy little calzones that are amazing hot and yet weirdly more amazing room temperature.  So trust me and overlook the weird meatless ingredients and try these pockets ASAP.  I would let you try mine, but I ate them all.  Basically by myself.

Anyway, I pinned these spiced lentil, sweet potato and kale whole wheat pockets a long time ago but finally got the groceries for them last week.  With another snow day last Tuesday (that would be number 7, and no I am not yet sick of them), I ended up having more time than I expected to cook dinner, and so I tried these little babies.

Now they aren't quick, because you have to make your own pocket dough (which is basically a whole wheat pizza dough).  However you could totally use store-bought dough to save yourself some time.  You know me though - I am all about making my own doughs.  And I am glad that I did because my mom raved about the taste and consistency of the dough; it was really good!

You also have to bake sweet potatoes and give them time to cool; I recommend doing that while the dough rises, but you could always bake them a day or two before you put the pockets together to save time the day of.

Then comes the filling.  First of all, sweet potatoes are delicious all by themselves.  But on top of a smearing of the mashed potato, you add a mixture of lentils and kale spiced with cumin, cinnamon, allspice and garlic.  Totally flavorful, delicious, aromatic, fabulous - all those amazing words.  And then on top of that filling, you add some caramelized onions.  Can you imagine a more delicious mixture?

They get baked for about a half hour, and then you can devour them.  Rachael ate hers with marinara sauce, because she felt the need for a sauce, but Mom and I just ate them straight up.  And then I ate them for lunch almost every single day until they were gone.  The blog I got the recipe from claimed that the pockets taste just as good cold (the woman even freezes them, grabs them out of the freezer in the morning, and lets them defrost gradually throughout the day).  I had my doubts because I don't usually like my food cold (I am well known for this in my family), but I did try it at work one day, and honestly?  It was even better.  Not cold, mind you, but room temperature.   I don't know why, but the flavors merged and were somehow more noticeable when they weren't hot.  No clue how it worked, but trust me, it did.

So, I will definitely make these again, but I will probably make them smaller next time so they last me longer.  They are really filling the size that the recipe calls for, because they're pretty huge (yet don't get me wrong; I ate them all easily!).


Spiced Lentil, Sweet Potato, and Kale Whole Wheat Pockets
from The Kitchn

Makes 6 pockets

For the dough:
1 cup warm water (not hot or boiling)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
For the filling:
3 small sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for brushing
1 onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup French green (Puy) lentils, picked over and rinsed
2 cups water
1/2 bunch kale, tough ribs and stems removed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1) Combine the warm water and yeast in a small bowl and let sit until the yeast dissolves. Meanwhile, combine the two flours and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix on low speed. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, followed by the dissolved yeast mixture and mix on low speed until a shaggy dough forms. Knead for 7-10 minutes until dough is smooth. Lightly grease a large bowl with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size.
2) Preheat the oven to 400°F. Prick the sweet potatoes in several places with a fork and place on a baking sheet. Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until very soft to the touch. Set aside to cool.
3) Cut the onion in half. Thinly slice one half and set aside. Dice the other half. Warm 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and saute the diced onion and garlic until onion is translucent. Add the cumin, cinnamon and allspice and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the lentils and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower heat and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Cut the kale into bite-size pieces. Add kale and salt to the lentils. Cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes more, until lentils are soft but not mushy. Taste and adjust seasoning. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the lentil and kale mixture to a bowl, leaving most of the cooking liquid in the pot.
4) Meanwhile, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy skillet over low heat. Add the thinly sliced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are caramelized, about 20-25 minutes.
5) Increase the oven heat to 450°F. Divide the dough into 6 pieces and let rest for 20 minutes, loosely covered with plastic wrap. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into 1-inch chunks. Mash with a fork until smooth and add a sprinkle of salt, if needed.
6) On a well-floured cutting board, roll a piece of the dough into an 8- or 9-inch oval. (If it starts to shrink back, set it aside to rest for 5 minutes and try again.) Spread about 1/4 cup mashed sweet potato over bottom half the dough, leaving room at the edges to seal the pocket closed. Cover with about 1/3 cup of the lentils and kale. Top with a small amount of caramelized onions. Fold top half of the dough over, and pinch and fold edges to seal shut securely. Use a spatula to transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush top with olive oil and cut 2 or 3 small slits to let steam escape as it bakes. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
7) Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until browned. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving. To freeze, let cool in the baking sheet and place the entire baking sheet in the freezer. Once pockets are completely frozen, wrap individually in foil or plastic wrap and store in a freezer-safe container. Thaw and reheat in the microwave or oven, or eat at room temperature.

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