Recipe of the Week: Wine Braised Lentils

We love lentils. Lentils appear on our dinner table so often that our family occasionally rebels. Not tonight. We made Wine Braised Lentils from Vegetarian Suppers from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen and it was unanimous – it’s a keeper. The recipe calls for spinach or kale – we used kale and it was delicious. Wine is an important component in this recipe. Cook with a nice table wine with a flavour you like rather than the cheapest thing you can find. If you won’t drink it, don’t cook with it is the best rule of thumb. Another note – cooking is about compromise- we didn’t have any pearl onions and it was still fabulous. This recipe does call for a hit of butter in the end, but if you omit that it is vegan.

Wine Braised Lentils
¾ cup green lentils
4 tsp olive oil
1/3 cup each diced onions, carrot and celery
2 garlic cloves, 1 crushed, 1 halved
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 ½ cups dry red wine
1 tsp prepared Dijon style mustard
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
12 red pearl onions
1 big bunch of spinach or other greens such as kale, leaves only
1 Tbsp butter or walnut oil
4 slices sturdy country bread.

1. Parboil the lentils for 5 minutes and drain
2. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a 2 or 3 quart saucepan. Add the diced vegetables and cook over a medium high heat for several minutes, browning them a bit. Add the crushed garlic, mash the tomato paste into the vegetables. Then pour in the wine and stir in the mustard .Add 1 ½ cups water, the drained lentils and 1 tsp salt. Simmer, covered, until the lentils are soft, 30 -40 minutes.
3. While the lentils are cooking, blanch the pearl onions in boiling water for 1 minute, then drain. Peel off the skin, then put then in a pan with the rest of the olive oil and cook over a medium heat, sliding them in the pan now and then
4. Wilt the spinach (or kale) in a skillet in the water clinging to its leaves. Season with salt and pepper (kale will take 7 minutes). Stir the cooked greens into the lentils, add a tbsp of butter or the walnut oil, season to taste.
5. Toast the bread and rub it with the halved garlic. Cut each piece in thirds and arrange them on plates. Spoon lentils over the toast and garnish with onions.

Serves 4

::Vegetarian Suppers from Deborah Madison's Kitchen ::Amazon