This is my very favorite lentil recipe. The French lentils are nice because they keep their shape and have a bit of a peppery taste. The butter swirled in at the end finishes the dish off nicely so don’t skip it!
- 1 1/2 cups French green lentils, sorted and rinsed
- salt and freshly milled pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 large carrot, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 celery rib, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 garlic clove, mashed or pressed
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 2/3 cup dry red wine
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons chopped parsley or tarragon
Put the lentils in a saucepan with 3 cups water, 1 teaspoon salt, and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a lively simmer and cook until the lentils are tender but still hold a little texture, about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion, carrot, and celery, season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are browned, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato paste, cook for 1 minute more, and then add the wine. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer, covered, until the liquid is syrupy and the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the mustard and add the cooked lentils along with their broth. Simmer until the sauce is mostly reduced, then stir in the butter and season with pepper. Serve with a flourish of chopped parsley.
Yield: 4-6 servings as a main dish; 8-10 servings as a side dish