Over the years, I and the editorial team have repeatedly received letters: When will there actually be a book for the column? Today I can say: The time has come – “Try it!” is finally being published as a cookbook. In it you will find some of the best and most popular articles from this column and many new recipes that I developed and photographed exclusively for the book. As always, with stories and information on all the important steps.
“Try it” is my mission for our kitchen to look for ideas, techniques and ingredients that taste exceptionally good and at the same time improve our health and the health of our soil, promote biodiversity and reduce energy waste. For me, the beluga lentil from Bavaria is more of a try-and-try discovery than the special fruit from a distant tropical island; and more vegetables than the hottest tips for preparing the last of all tuna. I don't have any dogmatism, I think Kalamansi is great, and from time to time not only vegetables are cooked here, but also grilled in fat or even homemade sausages. Experiencing all aspects of food production yourself makes it possible to put yourself in the shoes of farmers, vegetable gardeners, bakers and chefs. Professions that involve artisanal food production will only survive if we understand enough about cooking and eating to appreciate this craft. It's similar to what happens in a museum: without a minimal knowledge of 15th century art, I will hardly be able to appreciate and enjoy their works.
Above all, I want to inspire you with positive ideas to enjoy cooking with all your senses. A good example is this lentil dish. Growing lentils is beneficial for the arable land. Not only because nodule bacteria on legumes accumulate nitrogen fertilizer in the soil, but also because this type of fertilization promotes soil life as a whole. Unfortunately there are few lenses from Germany. A few come from the Swabian Alb, the “Alb-Leisa”. In Bavaria there is, among others, the Billesberger Hof with legumes, or the organic farm Chiemgaukorn with its great selection of local grains and also Beluga lentils – black, particularly aromatic and tender lentils. Stefan Dirt grows the lentils, he says: “The lentil is a delicate creature. Since it bends easily during flowering and ripening, especially when there is heavy rainfall, and molds in damp soil, it needs another plant to support it. This could be wheat, oats or spelt, for example. The care and harvest of this mixed culture is complex. But important for all of us.
You can't imagine how satisfied I was when I cooked the lentils with a small soffritto and sweet fried root cubes and then all the test eaters were thrilled. Give it a try!
Lentils with radicchio and celery
- 250 g Beluga-Linsen
- 2 Garlic cloves Garlic
- 1 Zweig Rosemary
- 1 TL Harissa oder Chili flock Harissa, Chili
- 2 HE dried porcini mushrooms Steinpilz
- 6 HE olive oil
- 750 ml (vegetable) broth Vegetable broth, broth
- 2 Radicchio Trevisano Radicchio
- 200 g Celery Celery, celeriac
- 50 g White bread White bread, bread
- Salt pepper
- 2 HE lemon juice lemon
1. If there is enough time, let the lentils soak in water for a few hours and then drain.
2. Peel the garlic and chop it with the rosemary needles. Fry briefly with harissa and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the lentils and porcini mushrooms, pour in the stock and cook over a very low heat until almost tender, about 25 minutes.
3. In the meantime, clean, wash and spin dry the radicchio. Dice everything that goes towards the stalk to about 8 mm in size and cut the leaves into bite-sized larger pieces. Peel the celery and dice it too. Tear the bread or crumble it very coarsely. Fry the celery and radicchio cubes with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt over a low heat until golden brown and soft. Shortly before the vegetables are ready, fry the bread in a second pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil until crispy.
4. Marinate radicchio leaves with lemon juice, salt, pepper and olive oil. Season the lentils and spread the vegetables and crumbs over the lentils. If you want, you can grate some cheese over the dish – it also tastes good, but it is not vegan.