My first attempt at a recipe from Légumivore was a delicious success! The key here really seems to be the Le Puy lentils, not only do they taste great but they hold their texture well rather than collapsing into mush.
Don’t get me wrong, I love lentil mush but these are really special. In true French fashion a lot of these recipes call for bacon or some such nonsense so I had to make a few changes. Also, celeriac is difficult to find right now so I omitted that and used boring old normal celery for the flavor.
Earl’s Frenchie Lentils:
- 1 1/4 C Lentils De Puy, (small green French lentils)
- 2 Medium carrots, small diced
- 1 Medium yellow onion, small diced
- 2-3 Cloves, garlic
- 2 Celery ribs, small diced
- 6 Fresh thyme branches (~1 tbs dried)
- 2 Bay leaves
- 4 Bags Earl Grey
- 4 Cups water
- Salt and Fresh pepper to taste
In a medium heat-proof bowl add tea bags and bay leaves. Bring the water to a boil, pour over the combination and set aside to do its thing.
In the meantime pick over the lentils making sure there are no stones or other such nonsense in the mix, give them a quick rinse to knock off any dust. You may want to take a moment here to appreciate how beautiful they are with their gorgeous speckled skin.
Meanwhile in a medium-large Dutch oven or pot heat a splash of olive oil over medium-low heat until shiny,add your veggies and a generous pinch of salt. I like to cook base veggies like this low and slow when I have the time. They can really cook for a looooong time before getting that dark brown caramel coloring however 15-20 minutes should do you more than well enough, just make sure everything is nice and soft. Once the veggies are ready add your rinsed lentils and stir to coat in the flavorful mix, add the thyme now as well.
Cover the lentils with the tea mixture (you can add the bay leaves but leave the tea bags out) bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cover. Cook with the lid on about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, and watching to avoid overboiling, it probably won’t wreck dinner but your stove will be a hot mess. After 20 minutes sample the lentils, I like to grab a small spoon and sample around 5-8 lentils (def not scientific) if the majority seem well cooked we’re good to go, if not give it a few minutes more.While more difficult to overcook than split lentils you can end up with mush so don’t get too bold with time extensions.
To serve, remove the bay and any remaining thyme twigs, top with a splash of your best olive oil. Enjoy with a side salad and feel virtuous all evening long!
- add a tablespoon or so of dried mint before serving (a bag of peppermint tea would work in a pinch)
- Add a can of whole tomatoes half way through cooking. Just make sure to reduce your water slightly, it’s easy enough to adjust up, not so much to adjust down. I like oregano in this stew-like dish.
- Empty the root cellar: finely dice sweet potatoes, celeriac, parsnips, whatever you want the additional bulk makes this more filling!
Let me know if try anything delicious with these!
Adapted from Lentilles Earl Grey au Céleri-rave by Tommy Myllymäki.