I had a particularly delicious rice and lentil dish at a friend’s house recently. Our host before we sat down to dinner, apologized because she said she’d been running late and had rushed through preparing the meal.
It was a simple mujadara with about the same ratio of rice to lentils, and tons of crispy fried onions piled atop with specks of sundried tomatoes – maybe it was because I went in without any expectation, but it turned out to be the most spectacular mujadara I’ve ever had!
I told this to our host, who brushed me off, and modestly suggested it was the lentil, “Please… it’s not like you can really screw up lentils!” she said.
Weeks later when I felt like time had gotten away from me one evening, I tore into a bag of lentils remembering what she’d said.
I love simple hearty meals I can make on short notice, especially around this time of year as days get shorter; and I love it when I get to cook with wine – so these wine glazed vegetables and lentils were a no brainer.
Fragrant and saucy, it all comes together in a cinch and the combination of flavours are excellent!
There’s isn’t much fuss to it, the ingredients are modest, lentils and a few chopped up vegetables stewed in red wine; I save leftover wine specifically for this.
It gets even more flavourful with next day (and the day after…), so leftovers are great and it pairs well with a host of sides. I’d sometimes do quinoa and greens for dinner, or topped over rice or have it on toast for breakfast or lunch – it never gets boring.
- 1 1/2 cups lentils du Puy (French green lentils) or Pardina lentils (Spanish brown lentils)
- 3 or more cups vegetable broth or water
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt (use less or omit if using salty broth)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 celery rib, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper or to taste
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- Rinse lentils thoroughly, add to a saucepan with vegetable broth (enough to cover the lentils) and garlic
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook uncovered for 15 – 20 minutes until lentils are tender but firm (Add a little more broth or water if needed to ensure lentils are completely submerged in water while they cook)
- Add salt, reduce heat and let lentils cook for an additional 3 minutes
- Remove from heat, discard garlic and set lentils aside (do not drain!)
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat
- Add onion, carrot and celery, sauté, stirring occasionally until fragrant and onions start soften, about 5 – 7 minutes
- Add garlic, tomato paste and cayenne pepper and cook for another minute or so
- Add wine, bring to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer covered for about 5 – 7 minutes, until vegetables are tender
- Add cooked lentils with its broth and stir in mustard, check seasoning and add more salt if desired
- Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally until sauce is mostly reduced