Monday, February 8, 2010

French lentils with Wine-Glazed Vegetables

lentil dish_edited-2
This tasty recipe is inspired by a recipe in Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.  I love that book, it’s such a classic with so many inspired recipes in it.  Everyone should have that book in their collection, vegetarian or not.  I’ve had it since the first printing. . . not sure when that was, maybe more than 10 years ago, and I’ve used it countless times. 
You use French lentils for this recipe, they’re smaller than standard lentils and keep their shape more when cooked, it’s pretty important here that they retain their shape.  You cook the lentils, and then braise the vegetables separately in red wine, then combine them and let the flavors meld.  I like to serve it on toast with spinach on the side and an egg on top, so good.  My kids like it on rice, or on toast (like a spread). 
Beautiful French lentils
lentil veggies
Lots of veggies
lentil veggies cookeed
Fond.   It’s not just in meat dishes.
lentils and butter
Finish it with butter.  Butter makes everything taste delicious.
toast and spinach
Some toast and spinach.
un oeuf baveux. . . what a perfect expression.
lentils on toast
Here is the contrasting kid-style of eating this dish. . . not nearly as elegant, but it does the trick.

French Lentils with Wine-Glazed Vegetables
inspired by Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian cooking for Everyone
1 1/2 cups French green lentils rinsed, and sorted
salt and pepper
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 celery rib, diced
1 cup (give or take) mushrooms, diced (optional)
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
2/3 to 1 1/4 cup wine (depending on whether you use the mushrooms)
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons butter (or olive oil if you want to keep it vegan)
Bread for Toasting
Baby spinach (as desired)
one egg per person

  1. Put the lentils in a saucepan with 3 1/2 cups water 1 teaspoon salt and the bay leaf.  Bring to a boil and simmer over lower heat until  they are tender but retain a little texture. . . about 25 to 30 min.

  2. Heat the oil in a skillet, add the onion, carrot and celery.  Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook over medium high heat for a few minutes.  Add the mushrooms and cook a little longer until the vegetables start to brown.

  3. Add the garlic and tomato paste, cook for a minute more then add the wine. 

  4. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until the liquid is syrupy and the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

  5. Stir in the mustard and cooked lentils along with their broth. 

  6. Simmer until the sauce is mostly reduced, then stir in the butter and season with pepper.

  7. To serve toast some bread, place in a shallow bowl.  surround with sautéed spinach, top with the lentils.  Lightly fry or poach an egg and place atop the lentils.

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