This hearty warming dish makes a great weekday dinner for the whole family. Filling and flavourful, serve it with creamy mash for an extra treat.
The sweetness of the lentils makes it a firm favourite with children, plus it's got lots of hidden vegetables.
I've served the lentils with sausages here but they work beautifully with any meat or a flavourful fish like salmon. You can even serve them cold.
- 250g dried puy lentils, rinsed (don't be tempted to use ready cooked as they will just become mushy)
- Approx 750ml chicken stock
- 1 small packet (approx 150g) smoked bacon lardons or diced pancetta
- 1 medium carrot, finely diced
- 2 sticks celery, finely diced (or why not replace with finely diced celeriac in Winter?)
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp pomegranate molasses (optional)
- Olive oil
- Fresh thyme leaves
- Salt & pepper
- Gently sauté your celery, onions, carrot and lardons together in a splash of olive oil.
- Once the vegetables are beginning to soften and the lardons to crisp, add your rinsed Puy lentils to the pan. Cook gently for a further 3 minutes.
- Add your stock a ladle-full at a time as you would in a risotto. Let the lentils cook down slowly and gently adding more stock as necessary.
- Don't rush - you don't have to obsess about this dish but you do need to be patient and show it some love.
- After about 20 minutes add your balsamic vinegar and pomegranate molasses to sweeten the dish.
- Add your fresh thyme leaves. Season.
- Keep adding stock until your lentils are cooked. They should be 'al dente' (have a slight bite) and coated in a glistening sauce.
- The consistency you like is up to you. Add stock and balsamic vinegar until you achieve what suits your palate.
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Serves: 4 adults