We store lentils and looked for a recipe to use them other than just lentil soup. An article in Cooks Illustrated magazine inspired me in addition to an Emeril Lagasse recipe from the Food Network. I still have a lot of produce from the garden, so this was a great recipe for us. A week after I made it the first time, I made it again to take as my contribution to a potluck dinner with several friends. It was a big hit and the hostess requested to keep the leftovers.
As typical for my recipes, much of what I include are estimates, not exact measurements. I also freely substitute based on what I have on hand. It is important that you use green or brown lentils. Yellow or red lentils become very mushy and aren’t good for this recipe. Use French lentils, if you have them.
- 1 cup brown or green lentils, picked over and rinsed
- 4 cups chicken broth (water may be substituted for part or all of the broth)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1-2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 5-6 cloves minced garlic ( or mashed cloves)
- 1-2 jalapeno or green chili peppers, finely diced (I leave the seeds in because we like the heat.)
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped (I have also added fresh basil and thyme)
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives, coarsely chopped (I have used green stuffed olives)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- French Vinaigrette, recipe follows
- 1-2 tomatoes, chopped
- 4 ounces crumbled feta or goat cheese
After rinsing lentils, place in a bowl with 1 teaspoon salt and 4 cups warm water (about 110 degrees). Soak for 1 hour. Drain well.
In a large saucepan, combine the lentils, bay leaves, thyme, carrot, celery, bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Cover with chicken stock (or water) by 1-inch, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until just tender yet still firm, 15 to 20 minutes. Cook until vegetables are soft. (You can also leave the vegetables out and add to the lentils after cooking if you prefer them raw and crisp.) Drain and discard the bay leaves and thyme. Place the lentil mixture in a large bowl and set aside to cool. Add the olives, chili peppers, and mint to the lentils and vegetables with some of the vinaigrette. Top with tomatoes and feta cheese and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
Serve with crusty bread.
1/3 cup red or white wine vinegar (I have also used rice vinegar.)
1 tablespoon minced shallot or onion
2-3 teaspoonsDijon mustard (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 to 1 cup extra virgin olive oil (vegetable oil may be substituted.)
Whisk together the vinegar, shallot, mustard, salt and pepper. Then beat in the oil by droplets, whisking constantly. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Use at once or cover and refrigerate, whisking or shaking again before use.