Monday, January 17, 2011

Warm French Lentils

Dinner tonite courtesy of Barefoot Contessa's How Easy is THAT? cookbook.

"Like other legumes, lentils are low in fat and high in protein and fiber, but they have the added advantage of cooking quickly. Lentils have a mild, often earthy flavor, and they're best if cooked with assertive flavorings. The best, most delicate lentils are the peppery French green lentils. These hold their shape well, but take longer to cook than other lentils. The milder brown lentils also hold their shape after cooking, but can easily turn mushy if overcooked. Before cooking, always rinse lentils and pick out stones and other debris. Unlike dried beans and peas, there's no need to soak them. Lentils cook more slowly if they're combined with salt or acidic ingredients, so add these last. Bigger or older lentils take longer to cook. Store dried lentils for up to a year in a cool, dry place. Substitutes: split peas OR black-eyed peas"

Warm French Lentils
Serve hot with garlicky French sausages (Ok, in my world, Johnsonville Brats.)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 leek, white and green parts, sliced 1/4-in thick (or 1/2 cup sliced onion)
2 carrots, diced (1/2-inch dice= chopped??)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup French green LePuy lentils (hmmm.... I have on hand, a 1-lb bag generic brown lentils)
1 whole onion, peeled and stuck with 6 whole cloves
1 turnip, cut in half
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat olive oil in medium saute pan, add leek and carrots, and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute and set aside.

Meanwhile, place the lentils, 4 cups water, onion, and turnip in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, add leek and carrots, and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are almost tender. Remove and discard the onion and turnip and drain the lentils. Place them in a medium bowl and add the buter.

Meanwhile, whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add to the lentils, stir well, and allow to cool until just warm, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.

Helen's note: I will serve mine hot with leftover lemon roasted chicken or with sausages.

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