A reader has requested a recipe for pulses and I’m only too happy to oblige. I am still mindful of the predominance of baked goods on this site and do need to do something to redress the balance. So, I have a couple of beanfeasts up my sleeve and thought I’d start with this one as it’s the less labour-intensive of the two.
I spent six months living in France and was captivated by simple dishes in which a few basic ingredients are transformed into something utterly magnificent. This method of cooking Puy lentils falls into that category.
The French love these mottled slate green beauties for their robust, complex flavour and an added advantage is that they hold their shape during cooking. The esteem in which they are held is evidenced by the fact that they have AOC (appellation d’origine controlée) status – similar to that granted to wines and cheeses – meaning that only lentils grown under certain conditions in the rich volcanic soil near Puy-en-Velay can be labelled as such. It’s all about terroir baby.
Perfect Puy Lentils
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
6 tablespoons olive oil
250g Puy lentils
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Get out your best authentic Le Creuset pan. Fry the onion and half the garlic in two tablespoons of the olive oil. Rinse the lentils in cold water and add them, along with the fresh thyme and 400ml of hot water, to the pot. Stir briefly and simmer for 45 minutes or until the lentils are cooked.
Make a dressing by mixing together the rest of the garlic, salt, balsamic vinegar and the remaining four tablespoons of olive oil. Pour over the cooked lentils.