Lentils and Mustard Sauce

Dish three of lentils week is the first that’s neither a soup nor a stew.  It’ s a side dish, kind of.  The original recipe is for halibut served on these lentils with this sauce also on the fish.  There is a note at the bottom that the lentils can be served alongside sausage, pork or lamb so I went in that direction.

First things first.  The lamb loin chops from Pair-A-Dice Farm were beyond outstanding.  Now, on to the lentils.  I used half green lentils and half French lentils.  They aren’t the same size, the French being smaller, but in my experience they take about the same amount of time to cook.  My first thought about this is that you have an option with the sweet potatoes.  If you put them in as directed in the recipe by the time the lentils are done the sweet potatoes will be complete mush.  I ended up just stirring mine in like they were meant to be part of the sauce.  That worked out pretty well.  Your other option is to add them about half way through the cooking so they stay in tact and add a little extra to the texture.  Up to you.  With the sweet potatoes stirred in I really think with an egg and some bread crumbs I could make lentil burgers with this.  Maybe I will.

My only real complaint is that the lentils never got as done as I like.  I cooked them for about 30 minutes, a little longer than in the recipe and still they were a little on the al dente side for me.  I’d recommend adding just a touch more liquid.  Be careful not to add too much because you need it all to cook out before you add the sauce.  If you end up with liquid in the bottom of the pot when the lentils are done just drain the liquid off before you add the mustard sauce.  The flavor is really good.  The earthy lentils with the sweetness in the sweet potatoes nicely balanced by the dijon mustard in the sauce.  I didn’t have any fresh tarragon so I used dried.  My guess is that fresh tarragin really adds something here so use that if you can.  I used a vino verde.  It’s very light and crisp and has a little fizz to it.  The alcohol content is very low so it doesn’t add extra bite, which, with the dijon, you don’t need. 

This is really easy to put together.  Most of the time is spent waiting for the lentils to get done.  I chopped the onion and the sweet potato while I talked to a friend on the phone.  A little saute and a lot of simmer.  That’s it.  The lamb chops didn’t need anything but olive oil, salt and pepper.  Four minutes on each side.  Dinner done.  You can cut out 2-3 minutes total if you make fish instead.  This is a definite keeper on the easy weeknight dinner list. 

Good? Yep, good.
Easy? Yep, easy.
Good for company? Sure, why not?
Special shopping? Nope.

Lentils and Mustard Sauce

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1⁄4-inch pieces
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/4 cups green lentils, rinsed (1/2 pound)
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup dry white wine
4 T chopped fresh tarragon

Directions

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 6 minutes.
Add the garlic and sweet potato and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the broth and lentils and simmer, covered, until the lentils are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Season with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper.
In a bowl, whisk together the mustard, wine, and tarragon. Drizzle over the lentils.

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