I enjoy the versatility of this warm, comforting dish. It works well alongside hearty winter proteins like roasted chicken or pork tenderloin, but it can also stand alone. This morning, I fantasized about serving these lentils for breakfast with a fried egg on top. The fresh grated nutmeg makes the dish pop, and the soft richness of the lentils evokes the pleasure of creamed spinach. —Josh Cohen
Place a medium sized pot over medium heat, and add just enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pot. When the oil is hot, add the garlic, shallot, and onion. Season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir frequently, until the mixture is soft and translucent.
Add the miso and the tomato paste. Using a rubber spatula, stir the miso and the tomato paste until they are incorporated. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the lentils and the water. Turn the heat to high and bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat so that the liquid is barely simmering. Cook for 35-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is almost completely evaporated.
While the lentils are cooking, let’s deal with the kale. Chiffonade the kale by rolling bundles of leaves into the shape of a cigar, then slicing across the kale cigar to create thin strips. Chiffonade the kale in batches. When you’re finished, set a large skillet over medium heat, and add olive oil until the bottom of the skillet is just covered. When the oil is hot, add the kale stir continuously until it has shrunk significantly in size. Continue cooking for another 3-5 minutes, stirring regularly, until the kale is soft and fully wilted. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Taste it. Is it delicious? Adjust the seasoning as necessary and set aside.
When the lentils have simmered for 35-45 minutes, add the sauteed kale and the heavy cream. Continue to cook the lentils gently, so that they are barely simmering. Stir occasionally. After 35-45 minutes, the cream should be almost completely reduced. The lentils should be glistening and any remaining liquid should be thick and creamy. Using a microplane, grate ¾ of the whole fresh nutmeg into the lentils. Add the sage. Stir and taste. Adjust with more salt and/or more freshly grated nutmeg as necessary. Serve it and eat it.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, I’m perpetually inspired by the diversity of foods that exist in this city. I love shopping at the farmer’s market, making ingredients taste like the best versions of themselves, and rolling fresh pasta. I learned how to make fresh pasta in Italy, where I spent the first 6 months of my career as a chef. I've been cooking professionally in New York City since 2010.