Friday, April 11, 2008

Braised Puy Lentils

Jai and Bee from Jugalbandi are the hosts for this edition of Weekend Herb Blogging and this week I've got some Puy Lentils

puy lentils

Well, they are the same type of lentil grown in Le Puy-en-Velay but these are grown here in Australia and are sold as Puy Lentils.

Puy Lentils are considered to be the pinnacle of lentils due to their ability not to turn to an unappetising mush when cooked! In fact these lentils are so special that just like wines, they have an appellation which is recognised by the EU.

The recipe I'm making this week is pretty much a classic way to serve Puy Lentils. As it's the textural element that we're trying to highlight with the Puy Lentil, the flavourings need to come from the ingredients it's cooked with - in this case, a very slow braise of finely chopped vegetables, the time allowing the natural sugars to caramelise and the flavours to develop.

braised puy lentils

Braised Puy Lentils

1 cup Puy lentils, washed and drained
1 red onion, very finely chopped
1 carrot, very finely chopped
1 stalk celery, very finely chopped
1 red pepper/capsicum, very finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, very finely sliced
25 grams dried Porcini mushrooms
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Prepare the Dried Porcini:
Place the dried Porcini in a bowl and pour enough boiling water to cover them - cover with a lid and allow to seep.
If you are lucky enough to have fresh Porcini on hand, then cook them with the rest of the braising vegetables.

Prepare the Braised Vegetables:
It's important that you cut the vegetables into a tiny dice - the technical term is brunoise. If you aren't confident with the knife then you could probably use a food processor but just be careful as they can go from small to homogeneous mass quite quickly.

In a large pan over a low heat, pour in a little olive oil and a knob of butter - when the butter has melted and started to sizzle, add the diced vegetables and stir.

Cook this gently until the vegetables soften and are starting to change colour - this should take 20-30 minutes.

While the vegetables are braising, place the lentils into pot and cover generously with cold water. Simmer until they have just softened - this can take between 15-30 minutes depending on the age of your lentils.

Drain them well - if you aren't going to use them straight away, spread them out and let them cool on an oven tray.

cooked puy lentils

They do lose a bit of colour when cooked but are still appealing.

Finish the dish:

Strain the porcini but keep the liquid - squeeze the porcini to remove any excess liquid and then slice finely.

Add the mushrooms to the braised vegetables and increase the heat slightly. Stir well and cook for 5 minutes to allow the flavours to mingle then add the lentils along with a ladleful or two of the porcini liquid.

Cook until the liquid has almost completely evaporated - taste and then season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

It's now ready to serve.

braised puy lentils

This dish goes well with any roasted or braised meats, perfect with sausages or cotechino and partners well with creamy mashed potatoes - it even tastes good on its own with some nice crusty bread.



  1. I love Puy lentils! What a perfectly simple and delicious recipe.

  2. thanks for your entry, dear haalo.

  3. I love the way this looks -- delicious! Wonderful photo.


  4. Looks so healthy!! Great pictures!

  5. Thanks Mari - I really should cook with them more often.

    Thanks Bee!

    Thanks Paz!

    Thanks Poonam!

  6. Just fabulous. I love this type of lentils.

  7. Just found you site via WHB and love it! Your photos are gorgeous.

    This recipe looks fantastic--I like lentils but can never think of ways to use them, so this is great. Oh, and the banana bread recipe from last time--YUM.

  8. I love these little lentils with peppers and onions. I've never thought about adding mushrooms, though. What a wonderful idea. Forest mushrooms in the fall...yum!
    (I can't get porcini here - very often...)

  9. Looks great! I don't think I use lentils nearly enough in my cooking! delicious!

  10. Great first photo. They look so beautiful, like marbled pebbles. Too bad they lose their colour when cooked, like borlotti beans!

  11. Thanks Kalyn!

    Thank you Ricki - that's very sweet of you. It's hard to go wrong with banana bread.

    Thanks Katie - i can imagine that it would be wonderful with a melange of forest mushrooms.

    Thanks Ginny - I seem to only eat them when I go out.

    Thanks Y - it is a shame about the colour change but like borlotti, the taste is still good.

  12. Lentils are my new obsession; I make lentil soup almost once a week - it's great poor man's food :D! You definitely made this hearty protein-rich bean look delicate and fancy, though.

    My husband and I were looking for a fruit liqueur this weekend, but I told him I wanted to find a great recipe before purchasing one. I've never actually baked anything with liqueurs, but I've been wanting to. Do you have any suggestions? :)

  13. Thanks Sophie - I think it's important that you choose a liqueur that you enjoy the taste of as there's no point in using anything you wouldn't drink. A good safe choice would be Cointreau - which is an orange based liqueur. You can flavour custards with it, panna cotta, jellies, if you are poaching fruit you can add a little to the poaching syrup, use it as a soaking liquor for layered cakes.

  14. I have to have least once a week and Puys are my favorites. Great way to prepare them!

  15. these look beautiful. I love the colors. It reminds me of an amuse I had recently out in Chicago (Sola Restaurant) that was topped with a bit of home-cured bacon and some pickled something. I never caught what the pickle was, but it really was a great combination.

  16. Thanks Erin - sounds like a tasty amuse!

  17. I'm making this for dinner tonight. I think I'll try to shoot it, but I don't think it will be as pretty as your picture!


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