Monday, April 3, 2017

Lentils with White Wine, Herbs and Tomatoes

This dish is perfect for those of you who are vegetarian, or observe meatless Fridays during Lent. It's delicious even if you don't fit into either of those categories too. I came across it in the amusing book "Lunch in Paris" that I read with my foodie friends book group.
The book is a charming tale of an American woman who, on a short visit to Paris, sits down to lunch with a handsome Frenchman, after which her life takes a whole different path. 
Scattered throughout the book are recipes, including this one for lentils that I made for the bookclub dinner, where it was served alongside a pork roast recipe from the book.
It makes a huge amount, so I brought the rest home and had plenty for a couple more meals. 
If you still have leftover lentils (as I did), they freeze beautifully and you can refashion them into soup by (vegetarians, look away) adding some chicken broth and sliced sausage. 
But if you use them as a side dish, by all means, don't skip the sour cream or the lime -- especially not the lime. It gives a wonderful freshness to the dish.

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Lentils with White Wine, Herbs and Tomatoes

From "Lunch in Paris" by Elizabeth Bard

(my additions in red)

2 T. extra virgin olive oil

1 carrot, roughly chopped

4-5 small shallots or 1 medium onion, roughly chopped (I used 1/2 onion and about 1/4 cup chopped leeks)

2 1/2 cups dried Puy lentils

6 cups chicken broth

one 16 ounce can while tomatoes, drained and chopped

1 cup dry white wine

a handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, including some of the stems, chopped

1 bay leaf (fresh if possible)

1/4 cup red pepper, diced

1/4 leeks, diced

about six frozen artichoke hearts, sliced

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

sour cream or creme fraiche

chopped fresh cilantro

limes, halved

In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and carrot (and red peppers, leeks and artichoke hearts if using) and sauté for 5 to 10 minutes, until the onion is translucent.

Add the lentils and stir to coat with the oil. Add the broth, tomatoes, wine, parsley, bay leaf and a good grinding of pepper. Leave to simmer over a low heat with the cover ajar until the lentils are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 1 hour.

Serve in shallow bowls with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkling of chopped fresh cilantro and (essential!) half a lime for squeezing.

Leftovers freeze well. Add more broth to turn it into a soup.

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