Based on recipe from 'Barefoot in Paris" by Ina Garten
1/2 pound French green lentils (du Puy)
1/4 cup good olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onions
2 cups chopped leeks (white / light green parts only - about 2 leeks)
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 TB minced fresh garlic
1.5 cups chopped celery (about 4 stalks)
1.5 cups chopped carrots (about 3)
1.5 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
2 TB tomato paste
2 TB good red wine vinegar
Place the lentils in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for 15 minutes, then drain.
Meanwhile heat the oil in a sauté pan, add the onions, leeks, thyme, salt (maybe) and pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.
Add the garlic and cook for two more minutes.
Add the lentils, celery, carrots, stock and tomato paste. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender.
Add the vinegar and season to taste.
This stores well when covered and refrigerated. Next day you make want/need to add a bit of broth or water to loosen the consistency.
Notes and Tips...
- du Puy Lentils - a very particular type of lentil that is now fairly easy to find; the boiling water soak will increase the lentil volume; if you don't have a weigh scale, 1/2 lb is about 1 cup
- Soaking lentils - a KB fan indicated that next time she would soak the lentils longer than 15 minutes. Technically I also soak them longer. I leave the lentils in the water until it is time to add them to the pan - most of the time that means a longer soak. They will absorb more water and be softer, but for some that is preferable.
- Olive oil - I presume she means extra virgin; if you have an olive oil you have purchased especially for its flavour, use it
- Leeks - don't forget to fan the layers and rinse out all the grit; confession - I usually have all ingredients for this in my pantry, but once realized I had no leeks - still tasted great!
- Thyme - grows resiliently all year in my garden, but when buried under snow, I use dried thyme (be sure your dried spices are not from the last century)
- Salt - if the stock you are using is NOT salt reduced or free, then skip the addition of salt until the end; then season to taste
- Stock - if you use vegetable stock then you have a crowd-pleasing vegetarian dish.
- Tomato Paste - buy a tube of this! better than buying a little tin and then having no use for the remainder
- Red wine vinegar - easy to find, but next time you visit a winery / vineyard ask if they make/sell this
- Cooking time is only 20 minutes, and you can be prepping the veg while the lentils are soaking. In fact, I cook this longer than 20 minutes. If serving it on the same day, it may be one of the first things I make and I just keep it on a low simmer until dining time. If I make it the day ahead, then there is technically additional cooking time when I want it the next day. People may differ in how soft they prefer the lentils.
- Make ahead: if you chop all the veg earlier or even the day before, then you will be having a "zen" cooking experience - easy-peasy.