I love lentils despite their sometimes bad reputation as being mildly boring, soggy and a little bit health-foody. Cooked properly they are a tasty little treat. This recipe is very versatile as it works well with roasted fish and any number of meats prepared any which way. Also delicious to eat in a bowl on its own with perhaps a fried egg, some parmesan and a little extra butter.
- 300 g puy lentils
- 20 g butter
- 20 ml olive oil, plus extra, to drizzle
- 1 brown onion, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp thyme
- river salt and black pepper
- 1 bunch cime di rapa, washed and cut into 4 cm lengths
- 1 large splash red wine vinegar
- 2 litres vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Place the lentils in a saucepan with enough cold water to generously cover. Bring to the boil, strain and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a wide-based saucepan on a medium heat, warm the butter and olive oil before adding the onion, garlic and thyme. Season with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Cook on a gentle heat for about 15 minutes or until the onion is looking soft and melty, and starting to caramelise a little.
Add the cime di rapa, give a little stir and then add the lentils. Give the mix a good stir to coat the lentils in all the pan goodness then add a big splash of vinegar. Stir again before adding the stock.
Leave the lentils to cook on a medium heat, stirring every known and again, for about 15 minutes or until the lentils are just cooked. You still want them to have a nice bite and not be soggy.
At this stage, have a taste – you will probably need to add a little more salt, perhaps an extra splash of vinegar and possibly some more butter. Once you are satisfied with the seasoning, stir in the parsley and serve with a good drizzle of olive oil. If you happen to have a nice peppery new season olive oil lying around that would work very nicely.
• At berta we always have a vegetable stock on hand. It’s good to use in cooking to add extra flavour when you want to be a little bit vegetarian and it’s also an excellent way to use up scraps of vegetables.
Photography by Benito Martin. Styling by Jerrie-Joy Redman-Lloyd. Bowl from The Country Trader. Dish with salt by The FortyNine.