Creamy French Lentils with Mushrooms and Kale

I found myself in TJMAXX last week shopping for dish soap (they have great organic brands!) and always browse the food aisle for any cool or exotic culinary finds.  This particular day I stumbled upon a bag of French Lentils.  Now I’ve seen these lentils here before and have always raised a very curious eyebrow, wanting to give them a try but not sure exactly how to use them.  Well on this day I decided to let the universe guide me and dropped them into my cart.

French green lentils, also known as lentilles du Puy— take less time to cook (yay!) and retain their shape better than ordinary lentils. There’s also a subtle flavor difference: French lentils have a slightly flinty taste, earthy with a slight mineral edge.

Thanks to their firmer texture, French lentils are perfect for salads, and are also good in soups and stews.

This particular recipe is delicious stew that comes to you from the kitchen of Ontario food blogger, The First Mess.  I loved the creamy base and the hearty combination of the French lentils, mushrooms and kale.  This is a perfect winter meal and really hits the spot on a cold day!

INGREDIENTS

  • ¾ cup French green lentils, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO
  • 1 medium shallot, fine dice (roughly ⅓ cup diced shallot)
  • 1 lb mixed mushrooms, stemmed + sliced
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon gluten-free tamari soy sauce
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened plant milk - I used cashew milk

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add the lentils to the water along with a fat pinch of salt. Simmer the lentils until they’re just-tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a medium soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots to the pot and stir. Cook the shallots until slightly softened and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms to the pan and let them sit for a full minute. Stir the mushrooms up and season with pepper. Let the mushrooms sit in the pan another full minute.
  3. Stir the mushrooms until they start glistening slightly. Season the mushrooms with salt. Add the garlic and thyme to the pot and stir. Once the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds, add the white vinegar and tamari to the pan. Stir the mushrooms. Add the vegetable stock and plant milk to the pot. Stir and bring the mixture to a boil.
  4. Ladle half of the mushroom mixture into your blender pitcher, ensuring that you include enough of the liquid. Blend on high until completely smooth. Scrape the blended mushroom mixture back into the pot, along with the cooked lentils. Add the sliced kale and stir. Bring the mixture to a boil and check it for seasoning. The texture should be like a thick and creamy stew.
  5. Serve hot over rice.

Notes: I serve this as a thick, stew-y mixture fit for serving over rice, but you could add extra vegetable stock/non-dairy milk to make it more soup-y if you like.

EntreesAlicia Uhl