2014/09/19

Said no one, ever (French Fridays with Dorie: French Lentils)

There are certain phrases that I am pretty are not uttered in the normal course of things...

"Yes, that outfit does look really as bad as you think it does."

"Gee, ice storms sure are fun."

"Oh, yeah, winter is coming." (At least not if you live North of the 42 parallel...)

"Those lentils sure look pretty" (said no one, ever).

Fortunately, it doesn't always have to be about the looks.

Lentils are a more recent (i.e. as in the past decade) addition to my diet. Up until some time in my thirties, I associated lentils with tree-bark and communal living. They also brought to mind split pea soup (I am not a fan). I certainly never thought of them as "French".

At some point, I finally learned to disassociate them from both tree bark and split peas and realized they made a pretty good addition to the diet (leftover lentils make some pretty tasty cookies).

In Around My French Table, Dorie Greenspan serves up a simple but flavorful version starring the queen of the lentil family (Lentils du Puy). In Dorie's version, lentils are cooked in chicken stock with aromatics and spices.

So, how does one make a simple recipe even simpler? Throw it in the rice cooker.

I love my rice cooker. It is one of those things that may seem like a single purpose item, but with a little creativity it can be so much more (it's great for cooking all sorts of grains and even legumes - one pot meals are possible if you use the steaming basket on top while the rice cooks).

Yes, I know you can make it on the stove and blah, blah, blah; but the rice cooker makes it so much easier. Surely, I can't be the only one who has had to clean dried up starchy water residue from the top of their stove as a result of rice boil over?

The rice cooker stays...

 
French Lentils - a la Cher
Adapted from Around My French Table
 
Note: each rice cooker is a little different. The proportions I offer work for mine - different ones may work for yours. Read the manufacturers instructions if in doubt...
 
1 cup French green lentils (du Puy, if you can get them)
2 3/4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable)
1 medium size shallot
1 clove
1 small cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium carrot cut into 1/4" dice
1/2 Tbs kosher salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
1 Tbs Cognac
 
Stick the clove into the end of the shallot. Place all ingredients into the pot of the rice cooker. Stir to combine. With the pot in cooker, close the lid and operate according to manufacturers instructions. (For my rice cooker, I used the "White Rice" setting). Once cooker has run through its cycle, remove the pot from the cooker (carefully - potholders recommended). Remove the clove, cinnamon and bay leaf. Transfer to a serving dish. Enjoy.
 
Leftovers heat up well in the microwave. Just add a little bit of stock or water and reheat until warmed through.
 
Cheers!
 
P.S. Tuna and Mango ceviche (or whatever version I decide to make of it will come soon). We spent last weekend in NYC for my birthday and I haven't seen the inside of my house before 7:30 PM in more days than I care to remember. Hopefully, cooking activities will resume this weekend (unless pouring milk on cereal counts as a "cooking activity").
 
This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie.

16 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday! And did you say "cookies"? If Cher likes a cookie, it must be fantastic!

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  2. I grew up eating lentils and didn't really eat much of them when I was vegetarian. I didn't think of them as hard core beans. You didn't have to soak them over night, etc. I love my rice cooker too. Never made lentils in it, sounds like a great idea.

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  3. Looking good, Cher, the lentils are a favorite in our house. The cerviche
    is really good, but I went with the cooked shrimp.

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  4. Last year we celebrated your birthday in Seattle. Happy Birthday, Cher. Hopefully you and Joe had a wonderful week-end in NYC and a little relief from what I suspect has been a hectic spring and summer. My Melissa loves her Rice Cooker also. I also have learned to like lentils - Dorie's lentils. May not go so far as to bake lentil cookies but thanks for the recipe!!

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  5. Happy Birthday! NYC sounds like a great way to celebrate. You're not the first person who has raved about the convenience of a rice cooker. Let's say that I'm convinced, but I simply don't have the counter space to make it work.

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  6. Happy belated birthday. Fabulous that you got to celebrate in the Big Apple. Yes, I recall the IFBC birthday last year - hard to believe it has been a year already. Enjoy as many cereal meals as you need and great job on the rice cooker. No one ever awarded points for making a recipe MORE difficult :)

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  7. You needed some raspberries, Cher!!

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  8. I've never tried cooking lentils in my rice cooker, but I am going to. I never thought of that. I LOVE lentils most every way I've even had them.
    Hope you had a great birthday weekend. How was dinner?

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  9. Cher you make me laugh as always. Happy Birthday! Hope you enjoyed NYC. I am also not a fan of split pea soup, you are not alone. Kudos to making your lentils in the rice cooker. It is not a unitasker.

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  10. Ooooh Happy belated birthday! Hope you had a wonderful time :D
    Lovely idea about the rice cooker, maybe my lentils won't be so chewy then! :P

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  11. Cher, a very Happy Belated Birthday - hope you had a day filled with great things and wonderful cake too!
    Your lentils look wonderful - it had never occured to me to make lentils in a rice cooker or to bake cookies with the leftovers - but I certainly appreciate those creative ideas! Makes me think of my slowcooker that I almost never use but should...
    Hope you are all well and that life is not getting too hectic this week!
    Andrea

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  12. Happy Birthday, Cher! Hope your time in NYC was fun. How did you enjoy your dinner? We just spent a few days there too. Our anniversary!
    Your lentils look quite mouthwatering! I actually enjoy them quite a bit. I however, grew up on them. They were served, just about, weekly in my family.

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  13. Happy belated Birthday Cher! Mashed lentils makes great fillings too!

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  14. I love that this worked well in your rice cooker. I feel the same way about my slow cooker and my stand alone steamer - they give me the space to do/cook other things.

    It sounds like you had a wonderful Birthday celebration!

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  15. I love my rice cooker too, but I haven't tried lentils - what a great idea! My favorite part of the rice cooker is that I can throw everything in it before I start working on the rest of dinner, and then voila!, I have a side dish.

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  16. I bought a rice cooker recently (at least it feels recently, it was probably last year), but haven't gotten very creative with it yet. I'm so glad to know lentils can be made in the rice cooker. That might actually inspire me to make them more often.

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