It’s really no surprise to anyone who knows me that I think about food, a lot. So, when Meghan wanted to have a volleyball team dinner at our house, I figured it was the perfect excuse to make some Turkish food (Meg has a teammate from Turkey). In my research, I noticed that Aleppo peppers made frequent appearances in the Turkish recipes — so I ordered a big bag, only to find out that Meg wanted burritos. Lesson learned — check with your daughter before planning a meal for her volleyball team and always, and I mean always, have Aleppo peppers in the kitchen, they are incredibly good.
Between the Aleppo peppers, the turkey stock I made earlier this week, the South Shore Meats sirloin I had in my freezer, and the hazelnut oil we got in our CSA boxes a few weeks ago, I knew I had the beginnings of something good for dinner….but what?? I initially was thinking about a salad (I knew I wanted to make a hazelnut vinaigrette) but salad greens soaked in turkey broth is less than appetizing. Then I remembered the lentils I purchased at the Chequamegon Co-op a few months ago and figured why not make a salad with lentils, instead of lettuce?? Lentils, soaked in a hazelnut vinaigrette, and sirloin are only appetizing but make for a hearty dinner with these damp days we’ve been experiencing lately.
Green Lentil Salad with Sirloin, Gorgonzola, and a Hazelnut Vinaigrette
2 South Shore Meats sirloin steaks (about 2 pounds), seasoned with equal parts steak seasoning and Aleppo peppers
4 medium-sized sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
2/3 cup diced carrots, about 1 large, 2 medium or 4 small-sized carrots
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium shallot, peeled and sliced
4 cups chicken or turkey broth
1 1/2 cups green lentils
1/2 cup gorgonzola, crumbled
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons hazelnut oil
1/2 tablespoon Aleppo pepper, can substitute hot paprika or crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste (for hazelnut vinaigrette)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and take steaks out of the refrigerator (you want them to be room temperature when you cook them).
Place the sweet potatoes in a bowl and add 2 tablespoons olive oil, Aleppo peppers, salt and pepper. Toss to combine and place on a parchment-lined sheet tray. Roast for about 30 minutes, turning frequently, until the potatoes are soft and golden brown. Set aside.
Make the hazelnut vinaigrette. Combine the hazelnut oil, sherry vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon, salt, and pepper in a covered container. Shake to thoroughly combine and set aside.
Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the carrots and onion and cook for about 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic, rosemary, and thyme and sauté for another 2 or 3 minutes, or until the garlic and herbs are fragrant. Add the broth and lentils, mix to combine, lower the heat, cover, and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Once the lentils are tender, drain them, add the sweet potatoes, and toss with hazelnut vinaigrette.
While the lentils are cooking, place a cast iron pan over high heat (you want the pan to be very hot). Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the pan and swirl to coat. Add steaks to pan and cook 5 minutes on each side or until browned. Reduce heat to medium-low; add remaining butter to pan. Carefully grasp pan handle using an oven mitt or folded dish towel. Tilt pan toward you so butter pools; cook another 2 or 3 minutes, basting steaks with butter constantly. Remove steaks from pan; cover loosely with foil. Let stand 10 minutes .
Slice the steak and place on top of the lentils. Sprinkle the gorgonzola on top and serve immediately.