Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Caramelized French Green Lentils

Fellow bloggers, please see my public service message at the end of this post*

Ditch the potatoes this month and try lentils! Side dish or main course...your choice! As part of the 'legume' family including beans, peas, chickpeas, etc., lentils are an excellent source of protein, fiber, carbohydrates and minerals.  They also contain no fat.

French green lentils are known for their firmer texture, and don't boil into a mushy consistency like brown lentils with which we are more familiar. Mostly grown in a volcanic ash region of France (around Le Puy), they are also now grown in certain areas of the United States and Canada in similar conditions.  French lentils are known for their greenish-gray mottled color and perfect "lens" shape.  They also have a more hearty, peppery and mineral-like flavor.  The word 'lentil' is French for 'small lens'.

They are more expensive than brown lentils but for a recipe like this, it's well worth it spending a little extra. I found mine at Whole Foods, but Bob's Red Mill brand and Food to Live, are two good brands sold on Amazon.

The inspiration for this recipe came from one of my newest cookbooks, Taste and Technique by Naomi Pomeroy.  The caramelization of the lentils is what inspired me to try this because I love caramelized everything!

I garnished mine with some peppery, locally-grown pea sprouts and served them with grilled salmon.  They would be delicious with most grilled and slow-roasted meats or poultry.  The left-overs (if any) are wonderful the next day as a salad for lunch.  Just drizzle with a little balsamic and extra-virgin olive oil.  I hope you give French green lentils a try!

These would also make a great side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas! 

Caramelized French Green Lentils

Makes a great side dish but hearty enough to serve alone. Leave out the anchovy paste for a vegetarian entree.  

Serves 4 to 6

Lentil ingredients:
¾ cup French green lentils
3 cups water or chicken stock
1 cup red wine (I used Columbia Crest Grand Reserve Cabernet which is a $10 bottle and good enough to drink with dinner afterward)
1 bay leaf (optional)
2-1/2 teaspoons salt

Vegetable Ingredients:
1 tablespoon oil
½ cup finely diced yellow onion
½ cup finely diced celery
½ cup finely diced peeled carrot
½ cup finely diced golden beet
½ teaspoon each Salt & Pepper

Sauce Ingredients:
½ cup red wine
1 small thyme sprig or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon aged sherry or red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon anchovy paste (buy the tube in the canned fish aisle)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Spread the lentils out on a baking sheet and remove any debris that doesn’t look like a lentil.  Rise lentils and put in a medium saucepan along with the water and wine, bay leaf and salt.  Bring to a low, simmering boil and cook, uncovered, until just tender.  This will take about 25-30 minutes. Drain any excess liquid and set aside, picking out the bay leaf, if using.

To cook the vegetables, heat the oil in a 12 inch sauté pan over medium high heat.  Add the vegetables, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just tender.  Taste test occasionally.  Set aside.

To make the sauce, first put the sherry, tomato paste, brown sugar, garlic, anchovy paste and Dijon mustard in a small jar with tight-fitting lid. 

Put the wine, thyme and garlic in a small sauce pan and bring to a low, simmering boil.  Continue to boil until the liquid has reduced to about 1 tablespoon, watching carefully at the end so you don’t boil away too much.  Using a fine-mesh strainer, strain the liquid into the jar with the other ingredients.  Close and shake together until combined. 

To complete the dish, place your largest sauté pan over medium to medium high heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil.  Add the lentils and sauce and sauté, stirring frequently, until the lentils begin to brown around the edges and begin to caramelize slightly.  Add the vegetables and continue to stir and cook for another few minutes until the vegetables are hot.  Taste and add more salt and pepper, if necessary.  (This can be done in two batches, if your sauté pan is not large enough to hold everything).  Just before serving, drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil.  


Angie's Recipes said...

Le Puy lentils are one of my top favourite legumes! Great idea of cooking them in a mix of water and red wine. This must be very delicious!

Pam said...

It looks delicious, Susan! I've never had the French variety and will have to look for it. Thanks for the recipe!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

They were delicious, Angie. Thank you!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

They are so much better, especially in recipes like this or salads! Thanks, Pam!

La Table De Nana said...

I can just taste this dish Susan..I love the texture of lentils..vinegary sweet things ..beets etc..have you tried spray Balsamic?I love putting on the table and just jooging☺️up the taste.Cold as a salad?Absolument!I have been buying these delish pack of 4 salads at Costco..I eat half..lentils,quinoa etc..Those scammers..get a life����

La Table De Nana said...

Just as I suspected..trying to comment from IG ..looked iffy..I had to enter my Blogger password etc..all was well but the whole message disappeared afterwards when I hit Publish..
On a PC..lol..
So I could bite into this dish right now..perfect day..and I love sweet vinegary dishes..and I love the texture of lentils.
Love beets too..

I bought spray balsamic after Provence..and love adding a spary or 2 once served.
As a salad..this would please me.
I ..twice now..have bought pre-made quinoa /lentil salads at Costco..pack of 4..makes 8 lunches for me..:) And I get to save the containers:)
Great heads up..Oh lala scammers..

Gloria Baker said...

Love this recipe Susan, I love lentils! xoxo

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

It was worth a try! At first I thought 'How cool is that!' commenting from IG. Oh well :) I will have to look for the spray balsamic, great idea! I've not seen those pre-made salads at our Costco :( Lots of other pre-made salads but not in containers, only bags. The Costco in Palm Springs sells seaweed salad which is delicious. Not here either! Thank you, M ♥

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

You are welcome, Gloria! We love lentils too. Thank you ♥

Lynn said...

My son loves lentils, I'll share this recipe with him:@)

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

These lentils are the best! Hope he likes it :)

Velva said...

I am a lentil fan! I will admit although I have seen recipes using green lentils, the brown lentils were always readily available. Wondered about the difference but you told me. Beautiful bowl of goodness.

Looking forward to your posts this year.


Ciao Chow Linda said...

For some reason, I haven't made lentils even once this winter, but after seeing your beautiful photos and delicious recipe, I have to amend that. Italian lentils from Santo Stefano di Sessanio and from Castelluccio are also really special too.

Chiara said...

thanks for the warning, I'll be very careful! Here in Italy we have excellent lentils, the best come from a wonderful area that is trying to be reborn after a horrible earthquake, it was a wonderful place, now it is destroyed, looking for lentils of Castelluccio di Norcia in Umbria, your stunning pics make me watering.... a warm hug

Tricia Buice said...

Thanks for the heads up on the scam. I delete so many emails - and hopefully it was one of them! Love lentils and your preparation here must be super tasty. I often forget about lentils but I love them so. Must make these soon! Welcome back - I've missed you!

GratefulPrayerThankfulHeart said...

Thanks so much for the warning about the email scam. I get so much stuff in my inbox (and in comments) and I don't know how they find me. At least I can moderate comments.

Your lentil recipe looks so delicious and very beautifully presented! I haven't much experience cooking with them and you have inspired me. Thank you :)

2 Sisters Recipes said...

I'm with you Sue, I love anything caramelized! Your lentils dish looks wonderful and will definitely give them a try! Thanks for the warming about the email scam. We too get so many of those and delete them constantly. So annoying...( as my teenagers would say)

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Thank you, Velva! They are well worth seeking out for recipes like this :)

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

This was my first time making lentils this winter also. I see both your comment and Chiara's comment below about the Italian Lentils. I'll have to see if I have find those too. Thank you, Linda!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Hopefully, you don't have such email scam problems in Italy. I see Linda's comment above also about your Italian lentils. I must try those also! Thank you, Chiara. A warm hug and good week to you! xo

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Glad you didn't get them Tricia, or at least didn't pay any attention to them. Thanks so much! After the holidays I needed a little break ;)

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Yes, these are definitely something new (to me) and very well done. I often forget about lentils too but they are such a nice change of pace as a side dish. Thank you, Lorraine!

From the Kitchen said...

We, too, are leaning toward healthier meatless meals. This looks and sounds like a winner! My parents were bridge players. My mother played Mahjong with her lady friends. My sisters and I just coveted the beautiful tiles.


Blondie's Journal said...

When I saw this on IG, I was hoping you'd post it. It looks so yummy, and I need to step up my salads.

Thank you SO much!


Debbie@Mountain Breaths said...

We love lentil soup and this looks so yummy and sounds like a winner. After you posted on IG, my sister texted me at work asking if my car was unlocked. Guess what? She brought me two containers of lentil soup and two Gumbo. My lucky day :-)

Abbe@This is How I Cook said...

Each week I am cooking a new grain or bean to keep in my fridge for lunch. At least that's the plan! These sound fabulous and I can't wait to try them!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Thanks so much, Bonnie! They tiles are beautiful, aren't they? I love the names of them too :) My husband and I used to play a lot of bridge but it seems fewer and fewer of our friends play it now (as couples, as least).

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Salad or side dish, it could be both :) Thank you, Jane!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Thank you, Abbe! What a great idea and so healthy to have on had.

Cheri Savory Spoon said...

Love lentils and I'm looking forward to making a pot of these caramelized ones myself, they sound wonderful. Thanks for the heads up on the newest scam, I wish they would leave us alone. Happy New Year!!

Chef Mimi said...

A fascinating recipe!

handmade by amalia said...

Looks wonderful. And thanks for the warning. I've received a few propositions like these in recent months.

Gerlinde de Broekert said...

I always like to try out different lentil recipes. Yours looks delicious.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Thank you, Mimi. I agree ;)

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

I wish they'd just leave us alone :) Thank you, Amalia!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Just a few steps above other similar lentil recipes I've tried :) Thank you, Gerlinde!

Anna and Liz Recipes said...

Love lentils Sue and this is wonderful recipe for them!! Thanks :)

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

First I must comment about your photos. They are fantastic. I think it is really hard to photograph and make a lentil dish look as good as yours do. Thank you for the recipe, I'm pinning.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Thanks so much for the compliment, Karen! I think the French lentils are a little more photogenic :)

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Thank you, Cheri! I almost missed your comment here under Abbe's :)

gluten Free A_Z Blog said...

I use the french green lentils but usually in soup. This is such a creative and interesting recipe. I would leave out the anchovy and substitute vegetable broth as I am vegetarian. I'm excited to try this- thanks

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Thank you, Judee! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did ;)