Crispy Lentils with Ground Lamb

By • February 19, 2013 43 Comments

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Author Notes: Adapted from "The Essential New York Times Cookbook"; original recipe by Mark Bittman.Amanda Hesser

Serves 4

  • 3/4 pound ground lamb
  • 4 cups freshly cooked French green lentils, 1 cup cooking liquid reserved
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 dried ancho or chipotle, soaked in warm water, stemmed, seeded, and minced (or 1 teaspoon pure chile powder)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Minced cilantro, for serving
  • Greek-style yogurt, for serving
  • Cooked rice or pita, for serving
  1. Turn the heat to high under a large deep skillet and add the lamb a little at a time, breaking it into small pieces as you do. Stir and break up the meat a bit more, then add the cooked lentils. Keep the high heat and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils begin to brown and pop, 5 to 10 minutes. Don't worry if the mixture sticks a bit, but if it begins to scorch, lower the heat slightly.
  2. Add the cumin, chile, and garlic and cook, stirring, for about a minute. Add the reserved lentil liquid and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits. Season with salt and pepper, turn the heat to medium-low, and cook until the mixture is no longer soupy but not dry.
  3. Stir in the olive oil, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Garnish with cilantro if you like, and serve immediately, with yogurt and rice or pita bread.

More Great Recipes: Lamb|Entrees|Lentils

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Comments (43) Questions (0)

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over 1 year ago marymary

Loved this dish so much I've made it twice! I also used the recipe's main ingredients for an impromptu stew and everyone loved it. If I recreate the stew, I'll be sure to take notes and post it. Thanks for the inspiration!

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over 1 year ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Would love if you posted it -- thanks!

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over 1 year ago Josie Marsh

Excellent. Simple and tasty.

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about 2 years ago Dima Haddad

This looks yummy, although it is very hard for me to add meat to lentils, I am a Jordanian and grew up eating lentils with soups, salads Mujadara and other vegetarian dish, but the mix of meat and lentils is intriguing, I will give it a try for sure. http://procrastinatorcook...

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over 2 years ago chefbonandee

I combined this recipe with the Greek Lamb With Orzo one, using my favorite parts from each. So very tasty indeed.

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over 2 years ago Erica Beeney

Also every palate is different -- I'm a definite flavor slut (can't get enough ;). If I make again I'll try a chili instead of powder and adding bayleaf and garlic to cooking lentils -- maybe even a preserved lemon? In the meantime I'll try the lamb with orzo. Thanks!

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over 2 years ago Baywife

Erica, you're right, it's dull. Blame the recipe a much better one from this site is the Greek Lamb with Orzo.

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over 2 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Just noting that about 6 comments down, you called this "tasty." But you also made some adjustments to the recipe without trying the recipe as is, so let's be fair. Still, I agree the Greek Lamb with Orzo is great!

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over 2 years ago Erica Beeney

I made this tonight as have been dreaming of it for weeks. It was a little bland (I blame myself, not the recipe). I used chili powder and did salt liberally with french sea salt at the end but I wonder if I missed a trick to make it have a deeper flavor?

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over 2 years ago Abakkeful

So good! I'm just starting a Body Cleanse diet and need to keep dairy and red meat to a minimum. This did the trick without going cold turkey. Besides, I'm following up the two week cleanse with the Mediterranean diet. This will stay on the menu. I added a little bay leaf and garlic to the lentils while cooking to give them a little zing. The bay is a nice touch.

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over 2 years ago WoooPigSooie!

How many uncooked cups of lentils should I start with to be 4 cups cooked?

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over 2 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

I usually do about 2 1/2 cups.

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over 2 years ago LizCo77

This was absolutely delicious as written. Thank you!

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over 2 years ago Baywife

Tasty. I used 1 tsp ancho chili powder plus 1/2 tsp chipotle powder. It was spicy without too much heat. I used white wine instead of the lentil water -- it was a bit too tart, so I added some plain water (1/2 c). Still a bit dry, but the yoghurt helped ameliorate that.

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over 2 years ago Baywife

Can anyone tell me how to delete a saved recipe?

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over 2 years ago Baywife

Whole Foods has "French" lentils in the bulk section. They look like de Puy lentils but they're grown in Canada. They're also MUCH cheaper -- less than $3/pound. Real French lentils are about twice that.

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over 2 years ago MarionRose

I made this last week after it was posted. Super tasty. However, the lentils didn't get crispy at all. Maybe if I did in batches (and over a 50000BTU stove) they would have.

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over 2 years ago butterchi

I topped it off with Greek yogurt, fresh cilantro, and some jalapeno pickled raisins for some tangy sweetness... so yummy!

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over 2 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Nice! I like how everyone is taking it in their own direction.

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over 2 years ago Morris Bang

super tatsty, lasted for two meals. yogurt should not be missed when eating this!

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over 2 years ago tgnewman

So tasty! This made a rough day much better.

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over 2 years ago CorinneInParis

Instead of deglazing with the lentil liquid, has anyone tried wine?

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over 2 years ago healthierkitchen

I used some white wine and it was delicious!

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over 2 years ago Rebecca Balent

I just made this. I couldn't find french lentils, so I used regular ones, but it is amazing!!

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over 2 years ago tlynnec

Perhaps a silly question, but... how do you cook the lentils before beginning this recipe? I love eating lentils, but i've never made them myself before. :)

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over 2 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Some people simmer them like rice with a precise amount of liquid. You can cook them like pasta -- bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the lentils and simmer until just cooked through, then drain the lentils reserving a cup or two of the cooking liquid.

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over 2 years ago tlynnec

Thanks!