Well, if you can’t tell from the picture, this lunch was delectable. I think what is most impressive about the whole thing is that Will made every part of it, including the dough! I am so spoiled to have a fiance who not only loves to cook, but loves to make extremely healthy and experimental things. How many of you come home from a rehearsal to see these things being produced in your kitchen? Well, probably not all of you come home from rehearsals ever, but you get my point. I am so fortunate to have someone who loves to cook for/with me!
Anyways, enough bragging about how wonderful Will is. Let’s discuss these pockets. These little guys were so good that even my boss who eats a burger and fries everyday for lunch thought they looked/smelled good (until I told him what was inside-then he lost interest). Beware if you make these and you work in an open office environment-when you warm them in the microwave, your coworkers will start to come over to your desk to see what you’re eating and perhaps want some! These pockets are extremely hearty and even if you are eating a smaller one, it will fill you up because of the density of the bread, the filling quality of the lentils, and the added features of kale and sweet potato. While the ingredients may not be more than just a few things, the way they are cooked and combined creates a wonderful bite of flavor, every time. While they are labor intensive to make, I think the end result is extremely worthwhile because not only is it packed with flavor and nutrients, it also is super easy to pack and warm up for lunch!
Cooking Notes: The recipe called for 3 small sweet potatoes, but we just got one massive potato. The original recipe also recommends cooking the sweet potato in the oven, but Will took the easy way and microwaved it instead. Otherwise, Will pretty much stuck to this recipe! We used up all of the onion/sweet potato mixture, but had leftover lentils/kale, which mixed with a little parmesan and heated up, makes a great snack!
Sweet Potato, Kale & Lentil Pockets (adapted from The Kitchn; serves 6)
For the dough
1 cup warm water
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
For the filling
1 large sweet potato, scrubbed clean
2 tbsp olive oil, plus some for brushing
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 cup French Puy lentils, picked over and rinsed
2 cups water
1/2 bunch kale, ribs and stems removed
1/2 tsp salt
Combine the warm water and yeast in a small bowl and let sit until the yeast dissolves. While it is dissolving, combine the two flours and salt in a bowl and mix on low speed of a mixer with a dough hook. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil, followed by the dissolved yeast mixture and mix on low speed until a shaggy dough forms. Knead for 7-10 minutes until dough is smooth. Lightly grease a large bowl with the remaining olive oil and place the dough in it, covering with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size.
Once you set the bread aside to rise, preheat the oven to 400 F. Prick the sweet potatoes in several places with a fork, wrap in a paper towel, and bake in microwave on HIGH for 5 minutes, adding time until soft.
Cut the onion in half/ Thinly slice one half and set aside, then dice the other half. Warm 1 tbsp of oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and saute the diced onion and garlic until the onion is translucent. Add the cumin, cinnamon, and allspice, then cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the lentils and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower heat and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Cut the kale into bite-size pieces. Add the kale and salt to the lentils. Cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes more, until lentils are soft but not mushy-taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the lentil and kale mixture to a bowl, leaving most of the cooking liquid in the pot.
Meanwhile, warm 1 tbsp of olive oil in a heavy skillet over low heat. Add the thinly sliced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are caramelized, about 20-25 minutes. During this time, increase the oven heat to 450 F. Divide the dough into six pieces and let rest for 20 minutes, loosely covered with plastic wrap. Peel the sweet potato and cut into 1-inch chunks. Mash with a fork until smooth and add a sprinkle of salt.
On a well-floured surface, roll a piece of dough into an 8 or 9-inch oval. Spread about 1/4 cup mashed sweet potato over the bottom half of the dough, leaving room at the edges to seal the pocket closed. Cover with about 1/3 cup of the lentils and kale. Top with a small amount of caramelized onions. Fold the top half of the dough over, and pinch and fold the edges to seal shut securely (using a little water if edges don’t want to stick to each other), using a fork to give the edges a good press. Use a spatula to transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the top with a little olive oil and cut 2-3 small slits to let the steam escape while baking. Repeat with the other dough pieces and filling.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until browned. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving. Wrap in aluminum foil to refrigerate, or to freeze, stick the entire sheet in the freezer (after cooling), then wrap in foil or plastic wrap. Reheat in a microwave to enjoy!