Braised Lentils Mark Bittman Style!
I’m pretty sure I have told you all about my deep love for Mark Bittman, but if not, here we go: his recipes, his blog, his Minimalist column, his attitude towards cooking and food, his sense of humor about himself, I just think he’s the awesomest. Alright, moving on! This delicious recipe comes from his How to Cook Everything Vegetarian cookbook. Along with a little salad and bread, this made a most excellent meal. And, as always, the cookbook offers a bunch of easy variations on this dish which I plan to try.
Braised Lentils, Spanish Style
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 Tbsp smoked Spanish paprika (I was unable to find true Spanish paprika - which is shocking, considering I was shopping at the international food emporium known as Lucky’s - but I was still able to find smoked paprika, and that’s what makes the difference)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 2 cups vegetable stock (I needed quite a bit more than this, so I would say have 3 or 4 cups ready)
- 1 cup dried brown lentils, washed and picked over
- salt and pepper
- chopped parsley for garnish
Put the oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion, celery, and carrot. Cook, stirring occasionally about 5 to 7 minutes. (Note, I find that onions taste the best and add more awesome flavor if you cook them a little longer. So if you have time, cook these babies for about 10-15 minutes.) Add the garlic and paprika and cook for another minute or 2.
Add the bay leaf, wine, stock, and lentils. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to med-low so that everything is bubbling gently. Cover partially, and cook, stirring occasionally and adding stock (or water if you run out) to keep the lentils from sticking or burning. Cook until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Lentils should be saucy but not soupy. Adjust the seasoning to your liking, and sprinkle with the fresh parsley before serving.
Final side note: I doubled this recipe, which works very well and makes extra deliciousness for lunches later in the week. The only thing I would mention is that you will definitely need more than 4 cups of stock or liquid. It’s fine to use water too, but you should keep an eye on this to make sure nothing is drying out. Enjoy!