This week the challenge for I Heart Cooking Clubs is to make something Jeffrey loves. I’ve selected these lentils Ina has recreated from one of their favorite bistros in Paris. I thought I knew every way to cook lentils but it turns out I’m mistaken. Wait until you see how she adds flavor to everyone’s favorite pulses.
The recipe comes from Ina’s cookbook How Easy Is That? She tells of how she and Jeffrey visit the same cafe whenever they go to Paris so they can enjoy the lentils. She calls them satisfying French peasant food, and I tend to agree.
Here’s how to make them:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 leek, cleaned and cut into thin slices
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup lentils (I used Spanish pardinas, Ina recommends green Le Puy lentils)
- 1 small onion, peeled and stuck with whole cloves (I used 4, Ina recommends 6)
- 1 white turnip, cut in half (this adds a nice flavor but can be omitted(
- 1 teaspoon butter
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the two tablespoons of olive oil in a small skillet and saute the leeks and carrots for 5 minutes or so. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Set aside.
- Place the lentils, 4 cups of water, the onion with the cloves and the turnip in a large heavy saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Lower the heat and add the leeks and carrots. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender (it will depend on the age and type of lentils you use).
- Remove the onion and turnip. You can discard them, but we added the turnip to the lentils.
- Drain the lentils and place in a bowl. Stir in the butter.
- Next make a vinaigrette with the ¼ cup of olive oil, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper.
- Stir into the lentils.
- Ina recommends letting the lentils cool until just warm. Add salt and pepper to taste at the table.
I was skeptical of using the onion and turnip the way she did, but the flavors did transfer themselves to the lentils. It was nice to not have to fish out the cloves from the pot. The turnips have a mild, sweet flavor and texture that I liked, but only reason I used one was because we already had some in the fridge. If you don’t like them, or can’t find them when you want to make the lentils, leave them out.
Rick and I both enjoyed the tangy vinaigrette. I understand why Ina and Jeffrey make a point of enjoy a bowl when they’re in France.
These were great on their own and would be delightful served with a garlicky sausage as Ina suggests. In the photos you can see my new favorite thing to eat: cheese stuffed sweet peppers like these. We had them in Moldova and I started buying them when I found them in Spain. They’re sweet, a little spicy and the creamy cheese just makes for a great bite.
I’ll be sharing this post with the bloggers of I Heart Cooking Clubs. I can’t wait to see what they’ve chosen to serve to Jeffrey. I find it hard to believe Ina serves him anything he wouldn’t eat.