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Lentils


Jim Dixon
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A few folks expressed their dislike for lentils over on the mystery basket thread, and mamster asked for "lentils that rock." I think these do, but they require the right ingredients. You must use either the small Italian lentils (often from Castellucio, but grown in other high elevation spots...esperya sells some) or the green lentils sold as French, du Puy, or sometimes "baby." These lentils don't mush up after cooking, so you get a much better texture. The other key ingredient is good olive oil. It has to have a strong flavor, and the more "peppery" flavor the better ("peppery" is a euphemism for bitter, which comes from the polyphenols in the oil...it's that slight burn, albeit pleasant, at the back of the throat). Enough already...

lenticchie al Mauro

I like to eat these as is, but they also rock if you serve them with sausage (cotechino especially). Sometimes I'll take the already cooked lentils, add a bit of tomato paste, and finish cooking some browned sausages in the lentils. You get a lot of tasty sausage juice (okay, fat).

You can also just cook the lentils in water, drain when tender, and make a great salad by tossing with cubed roasted beets (preferably chioggia or golden), splash of vinegar, and good olive oil (Navarre makes this with walnut oil and it is incredible).

Jim

olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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I've recently used "beluga lentils".  Thay seem to be about the size of the DePuy, but are a bit darker in color.  Great texture after cooking. 

Nick

Nick,

Could you tell me about more about these lentils? What's the flavor profile? are they similar in taste to DePuy? Brown? etc. Is the texture firmer than a Depuy or creamier? How did you utilize them and what combinations and preparations seemed to work best?

Where did you find them and are they an heirloom lentil?

Thanks,

Nockerl :smile:

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  • 2 weeks later...

We eat lentils in our house quite often and this recipe definately rocks!

Lentil Soup with roasted tomato

4 cups DePuy or green lentils ( pref organic )

1 medium carrot diced

1 medium onion diced

1 large leek diced

2 cups finely cut spinach

1 tblspn freshly ground cumin

5 fat garlic cloves crushed or finely chopped

1/2 cup olive oil

3 litres of vegetable or chicken stock

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Soak lentils in water for a couple of hours then drain. In a large pot place olive oil, leeks, carrot, onion, cumin and garlic on medium heat

Saute until leeks are transparent and then add the drained lentils. Mix into vegetables

Add 2 ltrs of the stock and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, stir occasionally.

Add more stock if it looks a little thick. Simmer for around an hour, until lentils are tender.

Add salt and pepper.

Add spinach a couple of minutes before serving and serve with slow roasted tomatos.

For a non vegetarian version make a slightly thicker soup and serve with a nice spicy sausage.

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Mentioned this on the risotto/apple thread

- Boil some puy lentils in the best fresh-squeeze apple juice with some bacon rashers and slices of fresh pineapple (apparently there's an enzyme in the pineapple which helps tenderise the lentils)

- When they're done (20 minutes-ish) take out and leave to cool (very important as they're a bit icky fresh cooked). Remove the bacon and pineapple.

- Finely dice some fresh apple and fry some bacon lardons (not too many as their taste is quite strong). Reheat the lentils if you want (good cold too). Toss in the bacon and apple, douse in your best olive oil (the really good stuff - I use an ultra-fruity one from brindisa in the Borough market)

Yummy

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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Jim, Jon,

Are you using dried lentils? Are you not soaking them beforehand? The Italian pack I have in my cupboard says it wants 12 hours soaking.

Yep dried puy

I think one of the advantages of the puy ones is no need to soak cuz smaller... plus i'm lazy

Al dente rocks... unless you wear dentures!

J

Edited by Jon Tseng (log)
More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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kiku,

I use both puy and Italian (and the locally grown version of the puy lentils), and I never soak. These all cook pretty quickly, average about 20 minutes to the al dente stage. Sometimes I cook them as described for al Mauro, sometimes I cook them in more plain water and then drain...but never soak.

I brought back a lot of farro from this same trip. I looked at a lot of recipes that called for lenghty soaking, but when I gto around to cooking the stuff it didn't need it at all.

Jim

olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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  • 5 years later...

My standby lentil recipes are soup (for the fall-apart type of lentil) and cooked, then mixed with caramelized onions and served with sausages (fresh pork sausages or spicy chorizo).

I could use some new lentil ideas, anyone have any good ones to share?

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One of Paula Wolfert's cookbooks has a killer Lentil and Black Olive dip that I often take to gatherings. I think it's in the 'Mediterranean Cookbook'.

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Interesting that you should bump up this subject just now.

A few weeks ago I came across the Black Beluga Lentils at Trader Joe's and bought a package which notes the lentils are (fully cooked).

It also states the caveat that they are prepared (packaged, I think) in or on machinery that has been exposed to nuts, seafood, and etc.

The instructions are to vent the package and microwave on high for 75 seconds or boil in water on the stovetop.

"Great in soups and salads."

And so they are. They are somewhat bland so one can add one's preferred seasonings to taste without being locked into the processor's choice. They can be dressed with different sauces for whatever flavor one likes.

I'm not usually a fan of microwaveable items such as this but this product is very handy if one has a last minute guest and wants to stretch a meal so it won't appear skimpy.

I added the lentils to a cooked rice medley served with mock chicken cutlets (for vegetarian friends) and tossed them with yam noodles for a salad for lunch one day.

They are very versatile for something so easy to keep on hand for quick prep.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Interesting topic...

My family and I love lentils of all sorts.

One of our favourite ways to prepare them -

Boil them with some veg & bay leaves...

When almost cooked, drain and put in a separate pan which you have pancetta cooking in (bacon or procuitto works as well) sautee them in the fat, season with S&P....when almost done, finish with some fresh lemon juice and some reallly good EVOO.

Enjoy.

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I ate at Tamarind a few days ago (a Michellin starred Indian restauarant in London). As part of the tasting menu we were served black lentils in a wondeful spicy sauce. Apparently a speciality of the North west Frontier, these were fantastic, they tasted so different to what i would think of normal lentils. If you can hunt down these black lentils, they are worth trying.

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I will never like lentils and I have truly tried, however, I have a friend who is a huge fan of these horrible little things. She has been extremely generous and I have few ways of repaying her generosity. Some frozen soups that are packaged in single servings and that could be frozen would fit the bill. She could then grab a pack out of the freezer for a quick lunch or dinner on her busiest days.

So I would like to learn much more about them.

When I google lentils the information is so different that I can't trust any of it. Should they be soaked or not? I have found information that says they must be soaked and other information that says there is no reason whatever to soak lentils!

Like johnjohn in the previous post, I would like to know if the type of lentil matters when making soup and some links to great lentil soup recipes, tested and approved by eG members would be much appreciated.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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when making a lentil soup does it matter what kind of lentils you use?

You can make soups with any lentils but the results will be very different. The small red lentils are generally cooked to make a fairly thick soup (they 'melt' when cooked). Other lentils, such as Puy lentils or the common green lentils, wont dissolve and should be used almost like grains... you can even cook these separately and add them at the end only, this way you are sure not to overcook then.

If you follow a recipe, I would say that you have to use the type of lentil specified in the recipe or seek a type of lentil as close to what is prescribed.

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When I google lentils the information is so different that I can't trust any of it.  Should they be soaked or not?  I have found information that says they must be soaked and other information that says there is no reason whatever to soak lentils!

Both ways are OK... but then since both ways are OK, why should you take the time to soak lentils in the first place? My guess is that sometimes people have very old lentils and these won't cook as fast (and won't taste as good).

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I will never like lentils and I have truly tried, however, I have a friend who is a huge fan of these horrible little things.  She has been extremely generous and I have few ways of repaying her generosity.  Some frozen soups that are packaged in single servings and that could be frozen would fit the bill.  She could then grab a pack out of the freezer for a quick lunch or dinner on her busiest days.

So I would like to learn much more about them.

When I google lentils the information is so different that I can't trust any of it.  Should they be soaked or not?  I have found information that says they must be soaked and other information that says there is no reason whatever to soak lentils!

Like johnjohn in the previous post, I would like to know if the type of lentil matters when making soup and some links to great lentil soup recipes,  tested and approved by eG members would be much appreciated.

Anna, I really like the Lentils de Puy - the French green lentils mentioned above. I just happened to make some today which drew me to this thread. Since I don't often have much time to prepare lunch, this is a good dish since it's easy to prepare. I already had some cubes of homemade chicken stock in the freezer, and the last time I caramelized some onions in olive oil, I portioned some out into small containers for freezing as well. Add these two items plus a little water to cover and simmer. Some diced carrots would be a nice addition during the last 20 minutes of cooking. Delicious and healthy.

John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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My standby lentil recipes are soup (for the fall-apart type of lentil) and cooked, then mixed with caramelized onions and served with sausages (fresh pork sausages or spicy chorizo).

I kinda turn those things around.

Lentil soup - split red lentils, boiled in veg stock (usually Knorr or Marigold - Marco Pierre White* assuages my guilt) until falling apart, then blitzed with a hand blender. Bacon/ham stock might be even better, but offends a veggie audience for a veggie soup. Meanwhile some whole green/brown (a mixture of colours and sizes is nice) lentils are boiled on their own, and some thinly chopped onion is caramelised. Adding a few drops of Worcestershire sauce and the whole lentils to the already pureed soup, and then garnishing with a little of the onion and a drop of cream or yoghurt just lifts things above the mundane.

Note that the split red lentils cook to a mush, whereas the whole ones are more like beans.

The different colours and sizes have different textures, and, to a lesser extent, tastes (particularly when cooked together!)

Lentils and sausages - cook Toulouse {for my preference} sausages in a dish in the oven. Add some chopped onion, garlic, and maybe a little carrot, celery, etc as you fancy towards the end of the sausage cooking. Meanwhile boil some whole green/brown lentils until kinda al dente. (Your time will vary with the lentils! Or you could cheat and used pre-cooked tinned ones.) Add the drained lentils to the sausages plus veg, and stir them together with a bit of wine or whatever, and give them ten minutes or so for the flavours to meld and the gravy to thicken. Excellent peasant food for the cold weather!

*Regarding MPW

I’m Marco Pierre White... I’ll be sharing my secrets with you on video and in the pages of this book. ... sharing tips, suppliers and secret ingredients. One of these is the Knorr stock cube.

I’ve used Knorr for over 30 years in my kitchens. I use them to season meat and fish, as well as in stews, sauces and pasta. My Little Black Book is all about eating, not about ego. It’s as simple as that.

http://www.knorr.co.uk/ Edited by dougal (log)

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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