Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Egg Noodles with Hickory Smoked Bacon Red Lentils and Mini Chicken Hot Dogs

     Simple Comfort Food!
     Comfort food is regular everyday food that has a place on the home dinner table and restaurants too.  Some folks picture French cuisine as being nothing but high class complex food, but hearty simple meals are usually what is served day to day.  
     German high cuisine can be extremely sophisticated, but there always seems to be a central theme of comfort in this style of fine food.  For the most part, German cuisine makes use of gentle inviting flavors.  When the weather cools down and the days become chilly, that is when the gentle flavors of German comfort food is most popular. 
     German American food has plenty of old world German cuisine tradition, but it is a little looser around the edges.  In America, folks make do with what is available or what they can afford.  During poor economic times, cheap hot dogs become a main staple.  Some of the best hot dog entrée recipes were created during adverse economic conditions. 
     Beenie Wienies is as low budget as a hearty meal can get.  Buttered Egg Noodles & Frankfurters is a cheap meal that many German Americans make when times are tough.  
     Today's Egg Noodles, Lentils and Chicken Dogs recipe is a good example of a German American style low budget meal that is filling, hearty and it looks nice.  Some folks like seeing recipes like this, because it brings back memories of simpler times.      

     Egg noodles are easy to make from scratch, but dried egg noodles sell for a thrifty low price at food markets.  Dried eggs noodles are a nice product.  Egg noodles do not need to be cooked al dente, but they should not be cooked so soft that they are limp and fall apart.
     Brown Lentils are popular in Germany.  Red Lentils are not commonly used in German recipes.  The Red Lentils should be lightly seasoned in today's recipe, because this entrée has a gentle flavor theme.
     Chicken Hot Dogs are a nice alternative for those who eat no pork.  Some Chicken Hot Dog brands are better than others.  Many times, a small local brand name hot dog product is the better choice.  The local brand little chicken hot dogs in the photos above were pretty good tasting and they were not saturated with emulsified fat. 
     Red Lentils:
     This recipe yields about 2 cups.
     Red Lentils only take about 25 minutes to cook!
     Step 1:  Boil 4 cups of water in a sauce pot over medium high heat.
     Add 1 1/4 cups of red lentils.
     Return the liquid to a boil.
     Step 2:  Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
     Simmer till the red lentils are tender.  Add a splash of water, if necessary.
     Drain the water off the red lentils and return them to the pot.
     Step 3:  Place the pot of lentils over low heat.
     Add 1 cup of chicken broth.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 2 tablespoons of chopped lean hickory smoked bacon.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced onion.
     Add 1 small pinch of ground celery seed.
     Add 1 small pinch of nutmeg.
     Add 1 thin sliced green onion.
     Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
     Stir the ingredients.
     Step 4:  Simmer till the onions are tender and the bacon flavors the lentils.  (About 10 minutes.)   
     Keep the red lentils warm over very low heat. 

     Egg Noodles with Smoked Bacon Red Lentils and Mini Chicken Hot Dogs:
     This recipe yields 1 large serving.
     Step 1:  Select 2 to 4 small chicken hot dogs that weigh about 2 to 3 ounces apiece.
     Score the hot dogs with evenly spaced shallow bias slices and set them aside.  
     Step 2:  Cook 1 large portion of egg noodles in a pot of boiling water over high heat.
     Stir the noodles occasionally, till they just start to become tender.
     Step 3:  Add the reserved prepared chicken hot dogs to the boiling noodles.
     Continue boiling the egg noodles, till they are tender but not too soft.  The little chicken hot dogs should become plump and hot by this time.  
     Step 4:  Remove the chicken wieners from the pot and keep them warm in a dish on a stove top.
     Drain the water off of the noodles.
     Step 5:  Place the hot noodles back in the warm pot.
     Add 2 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 2 to 3 pinches of minced Italian Parsley.
     Toss the the ingredients together. 
     Step 6:  Place the seasoned egg noodles in a shallow pasta bowl.
     Spoon a generous amount of the red lentils on the center of the noodles.  (About 1 cup.)
     Arrange the chicken hot dogs on the red lentils, so they look nice.
     Garnish with an Italian Parsley sprig.

     Some days, simpler is better.  Simple food has a way of relieving stress.  Cooking simple food to perfection and making the food presentation look nice does put a smile on a guest's face! 

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