I smelled my husband Stephen’s pot of lentils a mile away. My husband, the vegetarian, is always trying to get his meat-loving family to eat more, well, like him. After reading Mark Bittman’s piece in the New York Times on Sunday, he, like many, was inspired to make his own lentils. Stephen took Mark Bittman’s recipe as a general guideline, then stripped it down to basics and little did he know, he added an ingredient that would transform ordinary lentils into extraordinary -white wine.
Growing up, lentils hit our family table two ways: As a bowl filled with warmed up Progresso soup showered with parmesan or as tradition would have it, made from scratch on new year’s eve with cotechino (an Italian sausage) to ring in good fortune for the coming year.
I’m just hoping my good fortune includes Stephen making some more lentils soon. They’re that good! I also stretched the lentils out into three meals:
Day 1, I made spit-in-the-eyes (with gluten-free bread) and topped them with unadulterated lentils.
Day 2, I made the lentils and quinoa with mushrooms and spinach (above).
Day 3, I made my friend Jennie’s lentil-ricotta “meatballs” with a basic Italian tomato sauce for dipping.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 cups dried French lentils, (he used Shiloh Farms)
4 cups vegetable broth or water
1 cup dry white wine
Salt, to taste
- In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrot, and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the lentils, broth and wine; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Season with salt.
- VARIATION: Vegetarian Lentils and Quinoa with Mushrooms and Spinach
- To make this, I just placed a some lentils in a large skillet and stirred them together with cooked quinoa, sliced shiitake mushrooms and frozen spinach (I would have preferred fresh if it had been sitting in my fridge). To heat it all through without sticking to the skillet, I added enough liquid (in my case, water, but you could also use broth) to loosen it up without making it soupy.