As a New Year's resolution of sorts, I have decided to try to resist buying new cookbooks in 2013. That does not stop me from checking them out of the library, and my first library acquisition of the year was Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table.
This book is huge, and gorgeous, and I'm only going to be able to make a fraction of what I want to before I have to return it, but let me tell you: this recipe alone has me already questioning my resolve on the "do not buy cookbooks" thing, because if the rest of them are half as good as this one, I'm going to want this book in my kitchen full time.
These lentils may not be pretty and the technique- boiling twice, chopping vegetables, blending- may seem a little fussy, but let me tell you, these put all other lentils I've ever made to shame. And I was a vegetarian for 10 years- I've made a lot of lentils.
Lentils du Puy
from Around my French Table by Dorie Greenspan
1 cup dried lentils du puy (french green lentils)
1 small onion, peeled
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 4 chunks
1 stalk of celery, cut into 4 chunks
1 bay leaf
3 1/2 cups water or chicken broth or vegetable broth
1. In a saucepan, cover the lentils with cool water. Bring to a boil and boil for two minutes. Drain, and rinse out the pot.
2. Put the lentils back in the pot with the onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf, and broth. Bring to a boil, then turn down to an active simmer and cook until almost tender, 25-30 minutes.
3. Add salt to taste (I added about 1/2 teaspoon). Continue to cook until full tender, 5-10 minutes more.
4. Remove the vegetables and bay leaf from the pot. Discard the onion and bay leaf; chop the carrot and celery to put back into the lentils at the end.
5. Drain the lentils over a measuring cup so you save the broth/cooking liquid. Blend 3/4 cup of the cooked lentils with 1/2 cup of the reserved broth in a blender or small food processor until a paste forms. Stir the paste, the chopped carrots and celery, and an additional 1/2 cup of the reserved broth into the lentils.
This can be made several hours or even days in advance; just reheat gently on the stove before serving. Enjoy!