Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Chef Michael Smith to Judge Lentil Recipes Submitted by Canadians

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Chef Michael Smith to Judge Lentil Recipes Submitted by Canadians

Article excerpt

Chef Michael Smith lauds homegrown lentils

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TORONTO - Chef Michael Smith can't say enough good things about Canadian lentils.

"For me they're the ideal ingredient. They hit all the marks. They're beyond healthy -- I'd bore you to tears with the reasons why lentils are healthy," he explained. "They're beautifully delicious, with a wonderfully earthy neutral flavour that marries and pairs with virtually anything else.

"They're Canadian and they're very, very inexpensive to buy, easy to find and easy to cook with. You don't have to precook them. You don't have to soak them the night before. For me, they fall squarely in the category of ingredients that I consider easy."

Smith is a spokesman for Canadian Lentils, the organization that promotes fibre-rich lentils, of which there are four basic types grown in this country, primarily Saskatchewan -- green, red, black beluga and French green, or du Puy. They are packed with such nutrients as zinc, beta carotene, selenium and folate.

"We grow more than anyone else in the world. We produce what's generally regarded as the best in the world, but we ship the vast majority of them. If we can just get a few more to stay at home, the numbers add up much better for our Canadian farmers," the television host and cookbook author said in an interview from his home in Fortune, P.E.I.

In keeping with that goal, Canadian Lentils has launched a contest to help home cooks become more familiar with lentils.

The Love Your Lentils Canada competition features two divisions -- home cooks and food bloggers.

Home cooks have a choice of adapting five base recipes that Smith has created -- a brown rice and lentil side dish, chocolate chip lentil cookies, a lentil and spinach salad, lentil chili and a vegan lentil burger -- while bloggers are asked to start from scratch and be innovative.

Smith and his team will review the top 10 recipes in each division as voted on by the Canadian public by May 31 and select the top three in each category. …

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