This is one of my regular midweek supper dishes, especially now autumn is here with its cooler evenings and I crave something comforting and warming in the evening once the night has drawn in and the temperature dropped. I’ve taken to using it for three meals as there’s far too much for one. Food shopping for the single diner isn’t always easy. Things come packaged in 2s, 4s or in quantities far too big for one meal. Of course you can wait at the meat counter and buy just one chicken breast; you can pick loose fruit and veg – though in supermarkets generally they’re not organic, which I prefer to buy. More and more I’m tending to buy salads and veg in my local Wholefoods where loose organic is an option. And sometimes I’ll go to the local fishmonger to buy fish for one meal. But other times life is too busy and a quick dash to the supermarket is all I have time for. And sometimes, lovely packets like these grains come in packs with more than enough for one but are irresistible and make the base of a quick but tasty and nutritious supper.
I’ve been buying Merchant Gourmet’s pre-cooked, vacuum-packed Puy lentils for years and the basis for today’s recipe uses them in a similar dish which has been one of the top-viewing posts on my blog over all time – more than 8 years now! I discovered the Glorious Grains recently and love them; they make a nice alternative to the Puy lentils (which I still buy). The Glorious Grains are a mix of quinoa and red rice and now there’s always a pack waiting in my cupboard.
In all honesty it’s not really a ‘recipe’ as such: it’s more a ‘put together something from what’s lurking in the fridge and needs using up’ in the vegetable compartment. Yesterday I gathered one solitary courgette, a Romano pepper, 2 small red onions, 1 celery stick and some small tomatoes on the vine. I took the grains from my cupboard – and then I got cooking!
Glorious Grains & Roasted Vegetables – 1st Way (and base)
- selection of veg – see above
- olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried Herbes de Provence (or thyme or oregano)
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pack Merchant Gourmet’s Glorious Grains (or Puy lentils)
- balsamic vinegar
Trim and chop the courgette and pepper into small dice – about 1·5cm. Peel and chop the onions and slice the celery stick into similar-sized pieces. Quarter the tomatoes. Put them all together in a large ovenproof pan. Drizzle over a good amount of olive oil. Sprinkle with the herbs and season with salt and pepper.
Mix it together gently with your hands (getting messy hands really is the best way!). Put into a 200C/Fan 180/Gas 6 oven for about 40 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked and starting to caramelise a little. It’s a good idea to give it all a stir once or twice during the cooking.
Tip in the grains and give them a thorough – but gentle – mix in. Drizzle over a little more olive oil and I like to add a drizzle of balsamic too – but that’s optional. Put back in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the grains are heated through.
Your 1st meal! Spoon a portion onto a serving plate. I grated over some Parmesan and drizzled on a little more olive oil. One perfect supper.
I’d transferred the leftover grains and vegetables into a smaller dish and kept in the fridge. The second evening I spooned a portion into a small, shallow ovenproof dish. I covered it in foil and put in the oven (200C/Fan 180/Gas 6) for about 30 minutes or until the mix is nicely heated through and hot.
Make 2 holes in the mix with a spoon. Then break 2 eggs – one into each hole. Return to the oven for 10 minutes.
I like my yolks runny and this timing seems perfect, but leave it in a little longer if you like your egg yolks well cooked.
This is my favourite version! You get all the lovely, rich and warming grain and vegetable mix but with the eggs. When you break the yolk and it runs into the mix it’s just a little piece of foodie heaven. Gorgeous! I eat it straight from the dish. No point in trying to transfer it – and you’d probably ruin the egg!
There was only a small portion left over so I did what I usually do and used it as part of a salad for lunch on the 3rd day. It’s just as delicious cold and partnered with some raw salad vegetables – cucumber, tomatoes, avocado, grated carrot, whatever you have and fancy using – and perhaps some hummus or cheese, it makes a fabulous lunch.
I cooked the vegetables specially for the meal but I often roast a similar mix of vegetables when feeding the family a roast dinner on Sunday – usually a chicken – and there’s often leftovers of the veg. I use these in the same way, heating them the next day and adding the grains. It’s a wonderfully versatile recipe. Enjoy!