Posted by: A Part of the Solution | October 24, 2011

Twice Cooked Lentils

I adore lentils. I like them in sub-continental Asian foods. I like lentils in Ethiopian foods. I like them as a side dish. And I like lentils from everywhere as the ‘main’ on my plate. Red and yellow lentils are great in soups. Brown and green lentils are fabulous as stews. Lentils du Puy rock a casserole. All lentils make hearty, complex spreads and dips.

Lentils are easier to cook than many other members of the legume family, since they don’t need soaking. Lentils have almost as much variety amongst their types as beans do. There are red and yellow lentils. There are green lentils, and their cousins the brown lentils (both are sometimes called German lentils). And then there are Lentilles du Puy.

Lentilles du Puy are small and dark, with a darker mottling to their surface. They cook up firm, even with a long cooking time–and unlike their brethren and sistren. That’s why lentilles du Puy are my first choice for this lovely cold weather recipe. If you can’t get them, go for the German, or green, lentils. The dish will have a different texture, but it will still have a fabulous flavor.

Twice Cooked Lentils

Round One:

2 cups lentilles du Puy, picked over and washed well

4 cups stock, mushroom or vegetable

1 bulb garlic, loosest outer papers rubbed off

1 onion, peeled and stuck with 3 whole cloves

2 carrots, broken into 3 pieces each

2 stalks celery, broken into 3 pieces each

2 bay leaves

Round Two:

2 TBSP olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 carrots, cut into very small dice

2 stalks celery, cut into very small dice

4 cloves of garlic, peeled and mashed with 

1/2 tsp salt

2 TBSP tomato paste

1 1/2 TBSP Dijon mustard or 2 tsp dry mustard

1/2 cup red wine

2 cups stock, mushroom or vegetable

1 TBSP fresh thyme, minced

2 TBSP flat leaf parsley, minced

salt and pepper to taste

In a three quart pot, put all the ingredients for Round One. Turn the heat on high, and reduce it to medium low when it comes to the boil. You want your lentils just below a simmer as they cook.

Round Two: Meanwhile, in a stove top safe casserole, heat the oil. Add the onion and allow it to cook for five minutes fairly briskly. Now add the carrots and let them cook for another five minutes. Next add the celery, give these about three minutes. Now add the garlic and salt. Give the pan another couple of minutes, don’t forget to stir occasionally. Add the wine and tomato paste and mustard. Let these cook until the wine has almost disappeared and the tomato paste is visibly darker. Preheat the oven to 375°.

Drain the lentils, reserving their cooking liquid. Pick the veggies out and discard them to your compost bucket. Add the lentils to your casserole. Add the reserved cooking liquid. Add the remaining 2 cups of mushroom stock. Bring the lentils to a simmer and add the parsley and thyme, then put them in the oven to finish cooking. Give them about 25 -35 minutes more. The liquid should have been absorbed by the lentils, which will still be firm, but have a lovely creamy interior without any crunch to it. Correct their seasoning and garnish with more minced parsley if desired.

If you’re entertaining, you can buy one of those boxes of puff pastry and cut large circles using a ‘highball’ type glass. Within the large circles, cut small circles using a ‘juice’ glass. Put the dough cutouts (with the small circle still inside the big one) a couple inches apart on a cookie sheet. Bake at the recommended temperature until they are a very golden brown. With a sharp knife, carefully remove the smaller circle. Use a spoon (or your fingers) to dig out the doughy middle of the puff pastry cases. Fill the case with the lentils, and add the jaunty little top back on. Serve this with a side of sautéed mushrooms and a nice green salad or some beautifully green broccoli. You’ll get compliments, and people begging for seconds.



  1. Many commercial puff pastry products in your grocer’s freezer are actually VEGAN y’all. I’ve used Pepperidge Farm in the past. Not Organic, mind you. Just VEGAN

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