poor man’s caviar

27 March 2010

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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.

Delicious served hot or cold with my old favourite, rotisserie chicken, or with some goats’ cheese and peppery rocket leaves for a veggie option.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Erika Lederman 28 March 2010 at 5:18 pm

Love baked goods, don’t get me wrong….But always looking for fast and simple healthy options to whip up for family after work. This is fantastic! Will make tonight as I happen to have a cupboard filled with puy lentils!


green apple sorbet 28 March 2010 at 5:30 pm

Hope you enjoy it Erika! Let me know how it goes.


Erika Lederman 6 April 2010 at 8:59 pm

Okay, so I know I said I’d make them last week, but finally got around to making them tonight. Fabulous! Served them, as you said, with a rotisserie chicken and a lovely green salad. Kids loved them. Used italian mountain lentils instead of the puys, which gave it a slighly meatier flavor. Finished off the meal with a Saint-Marcellin and quince jelly. Perfect meal thanks for the recipe!


green apple sorbet 6 April 2010 at 9:11 pm

Brilliant, so glad you liked them. And I LOVE that you served them alongside rotisserie chicken too 🙂
Thanks for taking the time to comment!
Another recipe for pulses coming up before the weekend…


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