Chicken Lentil Salad, How to use a Grain Bin 101, plus… a Cookbook Giveaway!

Chicken Lentil Salad, How to use a Grain Bin 101, plus… a Cookbook Giveaway!

I mentioned a few weeks ago in a Facebook post that 2016 is the International Year of Pulses.

And I have to admit, that although we've been growing pulse crops for a while, I'm still learning to cook with them.  Especially lentils.

Since they're so good for you though (16 grams of fiber in one cup & boat load of iron, B6 and magnesium and potassium), and since I have a whole bin full of them,

I've been learning to incorporate them into our family's meals.

So last week, before our January thaw when there was still snow on the ground, I trekked up to the bin for a bucket full of lentils.

I got a little distracted on the way-- and you can see why.

It was another one of those blue sky, crisp air, brilliant sun, pristine snow kind of days that we've been treated to lately here on the Prairie.

Even this little red berry had to peek through the snow to enjoy it!

Eventually, I made my way to the bin & filled my bucket.

A quick primer on how a bin works:  see that little hole at the bottom of the door? It's called a port. During harvest, the door panels are installed (you can see three in that picture right up there ↑, and four panels plus a space where one is missing in the picture towards the top of this post), and the bin is filled with lentils or wheat or peas or barley or durum ... you get the idea... from the top.

When it's time to empty the seed from the bin into a semi to be hauled to the elevator, an auger is put into the port to carry the lentils from the bin to the semi.

As the level of the seed goes down in the bin, the door panels can be removed and eventually, the Farmer can go in and shovel the last bit of seed from the floor of the bin. (It's called butting a bin, and it's everyone's favorite job!  Insert heavy sarcasm.)

Okay, back to the topic at hand.  Lentils and recipes.

Once I had my little bucket back to the house, I cleaned the lentils.  Straight from the bin like this, they're full of rocks, other types of seed (like wheat), grasshopper legs, and weed seeds.  Yep, I said grasshopper legs.  Extra protein people, move along, nothing to see here!

I gave the lentils 20 minutes to boil and soften up while I threw together a few more ingredients, and tada, Chicken and Lentil Salad!

I started with a recipe from The Pea & Lentil Cookbook, published by the USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council, and adapted it to fit our tastes, and to work with what I had stashed in the cupboard. (Because planning ahead isn't really my thing.)

It turned out pretty darn good, and worked great as a cold salad or heated and wrapped in a tortilla shell too.  And just to make sure, I tried it out on the group of gals I scrapbook with.  They gave it a thumbs up, so it's a keeper!

I'll share the recipe in a new post tomorrow.

But in the meantime... I'm giving away a copy of The Pea & Lentil Cookbook so you can try your own pulse recipes!

This book is packed with pea and lentil goodness--nutritious AND delicious.  From salads, to side dishes, and main courses to dessert (yep, dessert!), you'll find something to fit every taste bud in your family.  Mama's, that means your gang will actually eat these recipes when you put them on the table at night!  And it's not just about lentils.  You'll find recipes using dry peas and chickpeas (you might know them as garbanzo beans) as well.

Just leave a comment here or on the Facebook post and I'll enter your name in the random drawing and announce the winner Wednesday morning!

Huge thanks to our friends at Cahill Seeds in Scobey, Montana for providing The Pea & Lentil Cookbook for our drawing!  We've worked with them and purchased lentil seed from them for years....and they're a great resource for all the pulse producers in the area.  Plus if you stop by the plant, you never know when you might find one of these great recipes on the table around noon!  Go ahead and tell them I sent you!

Don't forget to leave a comment so you're entered in the drawing.

And I'll see you soon on the Farm!  -Shauna

Update:  Congratulations to Krista D, our cookbook winner!