I have been consuming a lot of lentils lately. They’re a regular on the menu for family meal at the bakery where I work. I prepare them at on an almost weekly basis now. I even introduced them to my Thanksgiving menu this year. But, my typical lentil preparation can’t hold a candle to the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe. I would venture to call this dish extraordinary. Very simple and inexpensive ingredients yield an extreme amount of flavor.
There was a moment while I was making this dish where my trust in Mrs. Garten faltered. The dijon dressing you prepare for the lentils has a very strong, salty flavor that made me second guess her quantities to the point of remaking the sauce. Don’t question Ina. She knows exactly what she is doing, and once you combine the dressing with the warm lentils everything combines together beautifully.
Ina Garten’s Warm French Lentils
- 2 tbsp plus 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 leek, washed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut 1/2 inch thick
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 cup French lentils
- 1 whole onion, peeled and stuck with 6 whole cloves (I didn’t have cloves and skipped this step. My dish still turned out wonderfully)
- 1 white turnip, cut in half
- 1 tsp unsalted butter
- 4 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
Heat the 2 tbsp of olive oil in a saute pan, add the leek and carrots and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute and set aside. Place the lentils, 4 cups of water, the onion and the turnip in pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, add the leek and carrots, and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, or until the leeks are just tender. Remove and discard the onion and turnip and drain the lentils. Place in a bowl and add butter. Whisk together the 1/4 cup of olive oil, mustard, vinegar, salt (I did reduce the quantity of salt to 1/2 tbsp for my dish) and pepper. Add to the lentils, stir well and serve!