Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Lentils – Ina Garten's Warm French Lentils.

These are the lentils that started it all. A few years ago my mom decided to make this recipe out of Ina’s cookbook “How Easy Is That?”. I never liked lentils before trying these, but I also never knew that lentils could be anything other than sopa de lentejas – lentil soup. These lentils are really easy, hearty, and delicious. The Dijon vinaigrette is perfect. Like most lentil preparations, they’re also easily customizable. For example, the original recipe calls for French green Le Puy lentils, but I just use my regular brown lentils. Ina recommends serving them with garlic sausages. Bacon is also a really good choice, if you ask me. Included here is the original recipe along with my notes. No offense to Ina.. I'm sure she could cook circles around me.. but I just like to simplify things, especially when it comes to lentils.

You will need*:

2 tablespoons, plus 1/4 cup, good olive oil
1 leek, white and light green parts, sliced 1/4-inch thick (my note: I skip the leeks entirely, but leeks are great)
2 carrots, scrubbed and 1/2-inch diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup French green Le Puy lentils (my note: brown lentils work just fine)
1 whole onion, peeled and stuck with 6 whole cloves (my note: I skip the cloves and just dice up the onion)
1 white turnip (my note: I also skip the turnip entirely)
1 teaspoon unsalted butter (my note: I go with 1 tablespoon instead)
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt (my note: Ina's recipes are pretty salty. I love that - but go easy if you don't)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

*This recipe is easily doubled, which I usually do.

Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saute pan, add the leek (diced onion instead, if you're following my notes) and carrots, and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute and set aside.

Meanwhile, place the lentils, 4 cups of water, the onion with the cloves, and the turnip (just the lentils and water if you're following my notes) in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are almost tender. Remove and discard the onion and turnip (if you used them) and drain the lentils. Place them in a medium bowl the leek (or onion, if you followed my notes) and carrots, and add the butter.

Meanwhile, whisk together the 1/4 of olive oil, the mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add to the lentils, stir well, and allow the lentils to cool until just warm, about 15 minutes (or just dig in). Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve. The longer the lentils sit, the more salt and pepper you'll want to add.

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