French Lentils

raw lentils

French lentils! They’re so pretty when they’re raw, and so tasty when they’re cooked. They have a wonderful nutty, almost meaty flavor, and they retain their shape, and a pleasantly non-mushy texture. I have a basic method to cook them, and then they can be eaten as is, or tossed in a salad, or with pasta, or stuffed into a pie (in fact this is one of the staple ingredients that finds its way into many different pies). Save the cooking liquid for broth.

the ubiquitous shallot, garlic & herbs

recipe after the … jump!

1 cup french lentils (also called puy lentils or green lentils)
1 T olive oil
1 medium-sized shallot – diced very fine
1 clove of garlic – diced very fine
2 bay leaves
pinch of rosemary, thyme, sage
bit of butter, bit of balsamic
salt & Black pepper to taste

1. in a medium-sized sauce pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. When warm but not sizzling, add the shallot (it has to be very finely diced, or you’ll get big lumps of boiled shallot!). When the shallot starts to brown add the garlic and herbs. When the garlic starts to brown add the…
2. Lentils. They should be rinsed a few times, and any little non-lentil detritus removed. Let them sizzle in the olive oil for a minute or two, stirring them to coat completely, and then add…
3. About 5 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low, and simmer until done. Test after 15 minutes, but it might take closer to 20. You want them to be soft, but not mushy, they should still have their own shape, and almost a little crunch.

4. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir it right into the broth. Strain the lentils, but keep the liquid, because it makes a delicious broth to add to soups or stews.
5. Add a dollop of butter and a dash of balsamic to the lentils, to really bring out their flavor.

Use any way you like! They’re good eaten with some fresh tomatoes and basil and some slices of baguette drizzled with olive oil and toasted a wee bit.

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22 thoughts on “French Lentils

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