Friday, July 20, 2012

Braised Beluga Lentils – Black Ops and the Caviar of Beans

Braised black lentils, also known as Beluga lentils, since they resemble the most prized of all caviar varieties, is one of my favorite side dishes. That alone would have ensured an eventual appearance on this blog, but it was the suspiciously large number of recent requests that were responsible for today’s post.

I love a good conspiracy theory, so I’m assuming there was some kind of funny business going on…I mean, this could have been the work of some shady international consortium. Was “Big Lentil” responsible? They usually say, “follow the money” in these situations, but I’m not sure how to do that, so I’ll just move on.

This recipe is very straightforward, and as I say, when the lentils are tender, you are done. You’ll need to keep any eye on things after the 25-minute mark, adding a splash of stock if needed. It’s always easier to add than reduce, so don’t be afraid to adjust as you go. Also, be sure to add enough salt. Under-seasoned beans are bad beans. 

One thing I forgot to mention, you might want to pour the cup of lentils on to a plate to check for little rocks. Nothing ruins a great lentil eating experience more than shattering a molar, so it’s worth the two minutes to check. Other than that, not much can go wrong.

By the way, if all the requests for this recipe were the work of some clandestine organization, well, you got what you asked for…now, please leave me alone. I hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 2 large portions:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced celery
6 springs fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup black lentils
1 3/4 – 2 cups chicken stock, more as needed
1 tbsp champagne vinegar, or to taste
2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley

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