Orange-Scented Lentil Salad with Wilted Escarole

December 29, 2010
2 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Test Kitchen Notes

I tried this on a cold snowy winter's night and this hearty dish warmed us all thoroughly. The preparation time was very reasonable (for a lentil dish), and could quickly and easily be made even on a weeknight. I love the textural variation in the dish with the crunchiness added by the bacon and the escarole. I also found the fresh, light notes added by the orange and fennel provided a unique and fantastic balance to the heavy starch of the lentils. —epickles

What You'll Need
  • 4 thick cut slices of bacon (Nueske's is a good choice)
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 2 cups water, plus more as necessary to wilt the escarole
  • 1 cup Lentilles du Puy (small French green lentils)
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 3 leeks, white and pale green parts, thinly sliced
  • 2 peels of orange zest (about 1" x 3", each)
  • 1 small bulb fennel, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 medium head of escarole, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons best quality balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • Salt, to taste
  1. Place chicken stock, water, bay leaves, and lentils in a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat; bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and cook until lentils are al dente (on the softer side) - about 40 minutes; add more water, as necessary, to keep the lentils from drying out.
  2. In the meantime, fry bacon until crisp in a dutch oven; remove with tongs to drain on paper towels and set aside, reserving about 2 Tablespoons of the bacon fat in the dutch oven.
  3. Add oil to the bacon fat in the dutch oven; add leeks and orange zest strips and saute over medium heat until leeks are just beginning to soften; add fennel, carrots, and a good dose of black pepper, and saute until the vegetable are crisp tender; remove from heat until lentils are cooked.
  4. When the lentils are finished cooking, stir them, with 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid (add more water, if necessary), into the vegetables in the dutch oven; bring to a simmer, add escarole, and cook until escarole is withered.
  5. Remove from heat; stir in vinegar; stir in cream, adjust salt and pepper to taste; transfer to favorite serving bowl; top with crumbled bacon, and serve.
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3 Reviews

DjeenDjeen April 30, 2012
I cooked this last night and loved the combination of orange and fennel with the lentils. Since it is springtime, I eliminated the bacon to make it lighter. The addition of balsamic vinegar really makes the dish bright. Loved it. Thank you!
Nancy N. December 8, 2011
This sounds wonderful! Would go great with the Creamy Baba Ganoush Soup recipe I just posted! You've inspired me again Jennifer Ann! Congratulations on your recipe in the cookbook - Can't wait to get a copy!!!
Sagegreen December 29, 2010
I love orange with green lentils. Nice recipe.