This recipe is Nigella Lawson's (bar a few tweaks), from her book, 'Feast'. It is utterly marvellous with pork or lamb and makes a brilliant soup if there are leftovers. If you're reading this recipe because of my slow-roast pork belly recipe , you can make this in advance when you marinate the pork the night before. I often do, and I actually find the flavour improves. I've included instructions for a post-roast soup with these lentils at the end of the recipe, too, also in conjunction with the pork belly recipe!
Ingredients: (serves 8-10)
1 large carrot
2 cloves garlic
2 sticks of celery
1 large onion
100 grams streaky bacon (vegetarians, replace this with a few soaked porcini mushrooms)
3 tablespoons olive oil
500g puy lentils
2 bay leaves
2 generous teaspoons dijon mustard
300 mL red wine
750 mL water
olive oil for dressing
Peel the carrot and garlic cloves and chop finely with the celery, onion and streaky bacon, or chop very roughly and then process everything until finely chopped - I always do this and it works perfectly. Just don't over-process it to a paste! Heat the oil in a large pan, and add the chopped or processed vegetables/bacon. Cook them over a gentle heat until soft, which will take up to about 10 minutes.
Tip the lentils into the pan and stir them around, then add the bay leaves and Dijon mustard. Pour in the red wine and enough water so that the lentils are just covered in liquid (about 750mL). Bring to the boil and cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until just tender.
When the lentils are cooked, check the seasoning and add salt if necessary, and a little olive oil if you like. If you are cooking the lentils in advance, simply take them off the heat, and put the pan in a cool place somewhere. Warm through the next day by adding a little water and olive oil and keeping them in a covered pot on a low heat until warm.
Maddy's Braised Puy Lentil 'post-Roast' Soup
Leftover braised puy lentils from the above recipe
leftover sweet potato purée (but not the apple sauce) from the roast pork belly recipe
Leftover steamed cavolo nero or any other greens (cavolo nero and kale work best if you're reheating it multiple times), roughly chopped
1 litre vegetable/beef/chicken stock
up to 1 litre extra water
Salt and Pepper
about 150g leftover bread ends (can be stale), cut in to cubes
2 cloves freshly crushed garlic
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
Throw all the soup ingredients in to a large pot and simmer for at least 30 minutes. It improves by the day. We have some on the go at the moment and it's been even better every time. I would throw pork belly in too, but there's never any left over. If you do have some though, so much the better, cut it up and add it. After simmering, if you find you have too much solid and not enough liquid, add some water. Then, serve hot with a sprinkling of parsley and the croutons.
Croutons: Mash the crushed garlic in to the butter in a small bowl. In a frying pan, melt garlic butter over a medium heat. Scatter the cubed bread in to the pan, season with salt and pepper and make sure all the cubes absorb the garlic butter. Once they're golden, add the parsley and fry for another minute. Don't worry too much if the garlic browns. The slight bitterness is actually very pleasant in this case!