Within the past year, I have started buying more dried beans, doing the over night soak and then cooking them, rather than using the canned stuff. I’m sure the dried beans have little to no preservatives and most importantly haven’t been sitting in a can for who knows how long. The extent to my dried bean cooking has been black beans and chick peas. I finally decided to give the bag of lentils, which have sat in my cupboard, a shot.
With lentils, you don’t have to soak overnight, you can really just go straight to the cooking. With a bulb of fennel sitting in the fridge and the belief that they would go well together, I decided to make a version of a mirepoix with carrots, onions and fennel, replacing the celery.
This dish makes a great side for chicken, as you can see above. The Vegetarian added some cheese, for protein, on top of this, as well as having some couscous with it, for a well rounded meal.
Makes about 2 cups cooked lentils, 4 servings
1 cup brown, dry lentils
1 bulb fennel, top and core removed, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, 1/2″ dice
1/2 onion, 1/2″ dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1-3 sprigs thyme/rosemary
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 white wine
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
In a medium pot or dutch oven, add oil and heat over medium heat. When hot, add onion, carrot and fennel. Cook for about 5-6 minutes, or until the onion softens. Add garlic, and cook another 2 minutes.
Add bay leaves, wine, stock, and lentils. Sprinkle with a small pinch of salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low, so you pot is bubbling slightly, but not boiling. Cover partially and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender. Add water if the liquid reduces too quickly, about 1/4 cup at a time. The lentils should be soft, but not mushy, and the consistency of the pot should be more like sauce and not soup.
Serve with chicken, tofu or other veggie sides. Enjoy!!