This recipe began because it was brought to my attention that I have no lentil recipes on the blog. It’s true. It’s something I’ve noticed before, and was looking to mend the situation. I love lentils in everything from Indian daal to lentil soup, but all I could think of were the richest, most decadent lentils I’ve had. At Bouchon Bistro in Beverly Hills Chef Rory Herrmann braises du Puy lentils with sausage and a rich Bordelaise sauce and tops it with a decadent dollop of foie gras mousse and a soft-boiled egg. I can recall other times when lentils were slowly simmered with pancetta until flavorful and robust.
So I had plans to try to create a similarly rich lentil dish by cooking them in red wine and tomatoes for an hour or so. But then I got sick. Not terribly sick, but sore throat I knew something was coming on sick. It seems to happen every other week or so here. And like that, my desire for rich lentils went out the window and was replaced by a distinct need for soup.
I didn’t have a plan, just a fridge full of vegetables and some lentils and chicken. I improvised and happened to write down the recipe. And it turned out good. The soup was hearty, filling, and soothed my throat. The addition of red wine (I happened to have an open bottle) was a nod to the lentils I’d wanted to make. This recipe is really more of a base than something to follow exactly. Use whatever vegetables you have on hand. Make it vegetarian or add sausage instead of chicken.
- Olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, 1 finely chopped and 1 sliced
- 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
- 1 cup coarsely chopped mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon dry thyme
- 2 ounces red wine
- 8 cups vegetable broth
- 1½ cup lentils
- 1 pound chicken, sliced
- Heat some olive oil in a large pot. Add the garlic, onion, chopped carrot, celery and mushroom and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender. Add the tomato paste, tomatoes and thyme and stir to combine. Deglaze the pot with the red wine and allow to simmer for a few minutes until partially absorbed. Add the lentils and allow to simmer, uncovered, until lentils are almost tender, about 20 minutes. Add the sliced carrots and chicken and simmer until carrots are tender and chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Ladle into bowls and serve hot. Chopped cilantro or a dollop of yogurt make good additions.