Do you also find it really annoying having to queue to get your lunch and loosing half an hour in the process ? I do, especially when the weather is nice. Talking about the weather, I used to eat at my desk and not take a proper lunch breaks for years, little did I know that that wasn’t a good idea.
Mindless eating at our desks encourages us to overeat and reach out for snacks more often. It is also scientifically proven that our brain needs a break to function better and come up with new ideas and solutions. It needs good whole foods and loves oxygen, so a homemade nutrient rich lunch and some fresh air shall do the trick.
For making the most of my lunch break I take my lunch in a jar, it is easy and quickly prepared. I usually take a big napkin, knife & fork and either pick-nick outside in the sun or find a quiet place in the office and go for a wonder afterwards.
To save you some more time this lentil & chorizo stew is a one pot wonder, you just prep the ingredients, simmer for 45minutes, done ready to eat. For the vegetarians and vegans of you, please check out my root vegetable curry, also perfect for lunch jars.
You can fill the jar with almost anything, I like to use foods that work hot and cold, like the lentil and chorizo stew and most other lentil dishes. I chose chorizo because I love the rich flavour and it is just so delicious in combination with the lentils and bay leaves, you don’t want to stop eating. You only need two small chorizos to get a lovely flavour. Please try and use organic ones or make sure you read the label and check for additives, the fewer ingredients on the list, the better. The lentils make the main base of the stew and are a great source of fiber and protein, further there are carrots, shallots, garlic and celery -a good combination of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
No lunch jar without greens and I like to add lots of them. Watercress has come into season, I just love the colour and the peppery flavour. It is one of our very own British super foods, packed with vitamins and minerals it even has its own website, where you can find all kinds of information, from farmers to nutritional analysis and historical facts- brilliant! www.watercress.co.uk .
To bounce of the green I added some bright red of some British grown cherry tomatoes, I found in a supermarket . I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw them, given they are usually in season in the summer, they must have come from a green house. They are very tiny but quite delicious already! Tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C and beta-carotene and with their bright colour it puts them right up there on the antioxidant food list.
As another colour and flavour component I went for chicory, one of the those love or hate salads- I love them. Their season is about to start and I already found some small ones. Their slight bitterness helps our digestive juices going, so even for those of you who don’t like them, give them a try again, they are just so good for you and do work with a good dressing. Finally, I always like to add some fresh herbs from my window sill garden. Parsley or rosemary work rather well with this stew.
Lentil & chorizo stew- lunch jar -serves 2-3 ( all ingredients organic if possible)
2 small Chorizo sausages ( sliced)
2 cups of green lentils ( soaked for 2-4 hours)
6 cups of vegetable stock ( not too strong as chorizo gives a lot of flavour)
2 medium sized carrots ( sliced or cubed)
2-3 celery sticks ( sliced)
1 medium sized shallot ( finely chopped)
2 cloves of garlic ( finely chopped)
2-3 bay leaves & 2-4 whole pepper corns ( love long pepper)
1 tbsp of olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Flat leaf parsley to garnish
fresh herbs- rosemary, thyme & parsley
Heat the oil in a medium sized pot and saute the finely chopped shallots and garlic for 2-3 minutes; then add the carrots, celery and lentils, stir everything for a couple of minutes before adding the stock, bay leaves, a few pepper corns and the sliced chorizo.
The liquid should cover the ingredients well at all times, so please add more if needed and please keep checking the liquid status as the lentils will soak up quite a bit, stir everything now and again. After 35-40 minutes, check if the lentils are cooked through and season with salt and pepper for taste. Although you probably won’t need any salt as the stock and chorizo give a deliciously rich flavour already. You can either add finely chopped parsley now and fold it under the stew or later have the parsley as your first layer for the jar.
Leave the stew to cool down before preparing your lunch jars or prepare them in the mornings. Just put the stew in first, leaving plenty of space for the salad mix on top. Once lunch time comes round you can either serve the stew on a plate, creating a ‘salad bed’ and serving the stew on top, or eat it straight out of the jar. If you know you will eat out of the jar, roughly chop the salad before packing it , it makes it easier to eat everything.- Bon Appetit!!