Monday, August 31, 2009

French green lentil salad

I haven't had lentils before so I thought I would give them a try. I blame Top Chef and other cooking shows that like to use them for putting the idea in my head :) I'll be the first to say that I'm not a fan of beans, so I wasn't sure if I'd like these or not (I think they are in the same family). They are easy enough to make and seem like they would make a good side dish. I was not a fan of the lentils as they were to close to beans. The flavors were okay, but it is a texture thing with me. The original recipe didn't call for bacon, but I believe it gave it a nice flavor. Bacon makes everything better! :o) So if you like beans, then I would suggest making this recipe because it is so versatile and can go with many dishes!


2 strips of bacon
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
4-inch piece celery stalk, finely chopped
4-inch piece carrot, peeled and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon mustard seed- used mustard powder
1 teaspoon fennel seed- didn't use, not a fan
2 cups vegetable stock, chicken stock or broth
1/2 cup water
1 cup French green lentils, picked over, rinsed, then drained- not sure if I had French green lentils, but they were green :)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, cut into strips
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Cook bacon and remove from pan. Reserve 2T of the bacon fat and add the onion, celery and carrot and saute until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, mustard seed and fennel seed and saute until the spices are fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the stock, water, lentils, thyme and bay leaf. Raise the heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially and simmer until the lentils are tender but still firm, 25 to 30 minutes. Drain the lentils, reserving the cooking liquid. Transfer the lentils to a large bowl and discard the bay leaf.
In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, mustard and 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking liquid.
(Discard any remaining liquid or reserve for another use.) Whisk in the extra-virgin olive oil.
Add crumbled bacon to the lentils and add the vinaigrette, parsley, salt and pepper to the lentils and toss gently to mix and coat evenly. Serve warm.

Un-cooked lentils

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