Make Ahead

The Perfect Pot of Lentils

January 14, 2014
1 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

A bowl of lentils, something green, and an egg is my go-to comfort food. It is quick (even at high altitude), easy, and I usually have everything on hand. It is great as is and I have often turned the leftovers into burgers the following day. Despite having cooked this dish dozens of times, I have never had an actual recipe and decided to write it down. —savorthis

Test Kitchen Notes

If you’ve thought you should eat more pulses and legumes, but lacked inspiration to do it, this is the dish for you! The lentils develop a wonderful, rich depth of flavor. But it’s how it comes together in the bowl with the toasted broccoli, the soft, velvety egg, and the hot buttered toast that makes it so visually and texturally satisfying. This dish, one says happily to oneself, could actually save the world!

My lentils took a full 45 minutes (at sea level) to cook. I started the lentils first and then prepared the eggs while the lentils bubbled, which I think was a better sequence than suggested. I was worried about the eggs getting cold in their bowl of warm water, but they were fine: delicious even though they were not hot. The timing of the eggs was perfect, too. The egg whites were tender and jiggly, and the yolks were beautifully runny. The challenge was peeling them without breaking or ripping the egg white. I successfully peeled without breaking just three of my four eggs. And it was stressful! Perhaps next time I will experiment with 7 minutes to see if that makes peeling easier.

Overall, a delicious, very well-conceived bowl of dinner. Lentils with this much appeal deserve to appear on the table much more often! —Shortrib

What You'll Need
  • 4 eggs (optional)
  • 3 bacon slices, thinly sliced
  • 1 small head broccoli (or bunch of hearty greens), stems diced, florets cut into medium-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup small dice carrots
  • 1/2 cup small dice shallots (onion works too)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup tangerine/clementine/orange juice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup lentils, rinsed and picked through
  1. If using eggs, fill a medium pot with 1/2 inch of water and bring to a boil. Gently add the eggs, cover and steam at a gentle simmer for 6 1/2 minutes. Have ice water ready. When done, place eggs in ice water, empty pot and return to medium heat. Peel the eggs and keep them in a bowl of warm water.
  2. Brown bacon and remove to a bowl with all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat. If you wish, you can brown the broccoli florets in fat briefly, then set aside (I really love toasted broccoli). If not, you can add the broccoli in at the end. Pour a touch more fat from the bacon into the pot to cook the carrots and shallot until they begin to soften. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  3. Add wine and orange juice and cook until almost completely evaporated. Add the lentils, bacon, broth, and bay leaf, bring to a boil, then simmer gently. At high altitude, it often takes about 45 minutes for the lentils to cook, but it might be only 20 to 30 minutes for you. Check after about 15 minutes to see where you are. Add the broccoli stems and florets (or greens) when the broth is almost completely absorbed and let them steam for about 5 minutes. If the lentils are still crunchy, but the liquid is gone, add a bit of water and simmer until tender.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Dish up a hearty scoop of lentils and top with an egg. Serve with some fabulous buttered toast.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Dawne Marie
    Dawne Marie
  • Moira Riley
    Moira Riley
  • aargersi
  • savorthis
Co-Owner/Designer @ Where Wood Meets Steel-Custom Furniture

8 Reviews

Bread &. June 25, 2020
This was super complex, savory, and comforting. I made it vegetarian by cooking the shallots and carrots in butter with a tablespoon of soy sauce and a teaspoon of liquid smoke instead of bacon fat--they still had a 'bacon-y' flavor that went great with everything else.
Bread &. February 25, 2021
Update: today I layered lentils made this way over a salad and topped it with a creamy dijon vinaigrette dressing I made, and it was straight up one of the best salads I've ever had. The brightness of the vinegar and mustard paired so well with the savoriness of this recipe that I might start serving the dressing alongside the original dish. Just thought I'd share!
savorthis February 25, 2021
That sounds delicious!
Dawne M. November 1, 2017
Love this recipe! Should I assume that I should cover the lentils after they've come to a boil?
Moira R. January 17, 2014
I made this for dinner last night. It was pretty good. I needed a bit more liquid in mine. It was unclear to me when I should add the bacon back into the dish. Also, I wasn't sure about the instruction for cooking the OJ and wine until almost evaporated, did you mean that the liquid should be reduced... or that the alcohol should be evaporated? Otherwise I think it is a nice recipe, I like that it seemed like a complete meal. I also liked that it had both and orange and green vegetables. It was also very filling.
savorthis January 17, 2014
Thank you for your comments and I'm glad you liked it. When I am able to edit the recipe again I will clarify on those steps, but in the meantime here are a couple answers. Yes- liquid will vary which is why I usually test any pot of beans/legumes several times to adjust. 2:1 is my basic ratio to start with. I put the bacon back into the pot with the broth and I cook down the wine and orange juice together until it has almost evaporated.
aargersi January 15, 2014
I love this sort of dinner, and that is the prettiest egg EVER!
savorthis January 15, 2014
Ha! Thanks. Verging on cliché these days, but who can resist the egg beauty shot?