Tuesday, November 28, 2006


The easiest way to cook Puy or other green lentils is to simmer them in water, drain them, and stir in flavourings such as fried onions and garlic, celery, and parsley. But yesterday, with the braised belly pork, I thought that it would be a shame not to flavour the lentils with the pork broth, which I did not want to discard; so I cooked them (about 50 g for each person) by a kind of absorption method. It's as difficult to get right as it is with rice.

I rinsed the lentils in a sieve under running water. Then I put them in a saucepan, covered them in broth with about 2 cm to spare, brought them to a simmer, put on the lid, and turned down the heat. You can never tell how much liquid the lentils will absorb. These were drying out after about 10 minutes, so I added more broth. But I did not want to pour in too much, because at the end of cooking I hoped that there would be only a little liquid remaining. Add too little, though, and the lentils won't soften. So I had to top up with broth, check again after five minutes, taste the lentils to try to guess how much longer they needed, add more broth, and repeat. This is supposed to be a humble foodstuff.

Meanwhile, I softened an onion and a clove of garlic in olive oil until they were golden.

The lentils were softening after about 35 minutes. I removed the lid, stirred in the onion and garlic mixture, added a little salt and a lot of pepper, and allowed the liquid to evaporate.

The third component of this meal, red cabbage, required a lot less attention. Details tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

Inspired by reading about your lentils - even if they didn't behave as predictably as hoped - I brewed some up myself using white wine and stock instead of water, fried an onion and red pepper, tossed in lots of ground spices, then mixed it in, and for some reason I was blessed. They were super yummy. You might also like my blog www.timesonline.co.uk/ecoworrier
Although I don't cover food on it very often (unless it's green)

Nicholas Clee said...

Following your 29th November entry, I won't out you as a lentil-eater on your entertaining blog. I've sent the URL to eco-minded friends.