I love lentils for their earthy flavor and I love French (or green) lentils for their toothiness. In other words, they don't melt. This is my version of a recipe for barbecued lentils, Not Afraid of Flavor, by Ben and Karen Barker, the owner/chefs of a wonderful restaurant, Magnolia Grill, in Durham, NC. These folks know something about flavor! —Nora
8-10 as a side dish
French Lentils with Rainbow Chard
cooked French lentils
cloves garlic, minced
stems from 1 bunch of rainbow chard, diced
Variations: use in addition to or instead of the above: leeks, fennel, parsnips
medium white wine
Leaves from 1 bunch of rainbow chard, shredded
tomato sauce or ketchup
balsamic vinegar, more to taste
honey or other sweetener, more to taste
Saute all the diced vegetables in olive oil until beginning to caramelize. Add the wine and let it cook off.
Add the cooked lentils, the stock (enough to almost cover the lentils), the salt and pepper, the thyme, and the Worchestershire sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. If there is still a lot of broth, simmer another 10 minutes or ladle off some broth.
While the lentils and vegetables simmer, shred the chard leaves, rinse them, and steam or saute them.
Stir the tender chard leaves into the lentil mixture and take off the heat.
Add the tomato sauce or ketchup, vinegar, and honey or other sweetener. Stir and taste. Add more of any of the seasonings until it tastes right.
Serve at room temperature. Just before serving, taste and season again, if necessary.
I have made this with other shredded and cooked greens, with caramelized onions, with roasted cauliflower, with roasted sweet potatoes cut into small bits. Think of the lentils as a blank canvas. As I type this, I'm imagining adding toasted nuts just before serving, or some dried fruit.