ideas for meal with lentils?
My boyfriend and I recently purchased some lentiles de puy and are wondering what kind of recipes would make best use of them, particularly with duck confit? We had a meal with them in Paris which was amazing, but we can't remember how the lentils were prepared (it sounds similar to the epicurious recipe mentioned on previous lentil threads, but I'm not sure if it had leeks or was as elaborate). As well, are there any other dishes which would compliment the two (i.e. appetizers, desserts, wine, etc)? Any suggestions would be appreciated!
I've made this recipe, which is very conducive to improvisation - not having found Toulouse sausage at the butcher shop near my house, I used linguica instead which added a nice mildly spicy kick.
Very easy and very satisfying, especially if you live somewhere cold and want a warm stew-y type dinner.
i'm a fan of pork with lentils. perhaps a little boring of me, but in flavors and textures, it just works. I've done traditional French sausages to making do with chorizo (and linguica mentioned above sounds lovely). With legumes, I've found that I always find them too stodgy so I like to spike the tender beans (in stew or non-stew form) with something. Sherry vinegar is good with the lentils (and the sausage) and a sprinkle of brandy wakes them up without adding tartness.
For a wine pairing, reds are a no brainer (spanish reds are surprisingly good, especially if you use sherry vinegar), though I've had luck with some Alsatian whites with a dish like this.
For possible sides, something vegetal ... perhaps a simple and traditional green salad, a refreshing cucumber salad with a yogurt dressing and fresh herb of your choice, or for something totally different, a spicy Moroccan carrot salad.
Dessert ... something wintry ... poaching dried fruit in red wine and sugar and serving that over ice cream or better, some ripe Montbriac cheese and the rest of the wine.
A couple of years ago, I did a survey of the products from two dozen or so of Montreal's confit duck leg purveyors. In the course of the testing, I had many opportunities to try duck confit with various sides and wines. For details and a few recipes, see the thread (link follows). In a nutshell, my findings were that the classic parings -- potatoes, lentils or mushrooms -- and southwestern French red wines -- Madiran, Gaillac, Cahors, Côtes du Frontonnais, etc. -- make the best partners.
As mentioned in that thread, my favourite side is warm lentil salad (adapted from a Patricia Wells recipe): rinse and pick over 500 g of Puy lentils; put them in a saucepan with an onion cut in half stuck with 2 cloves, a peeled garlic clove or 2, 1 or 2 bay leaves, a branch of thyme or winter savoury and, optionally, a sugar cube; cover with water by 1 inch; bring to a boil, cover and simmer until the water is absorbed and the lentils tender (20-40 minutes); remove the veggies and herbs; dress warm with a mixture of 1/3 cup top-quality red wine vinegar, three tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper.
There is a lentil salad at Epicurious and in many French cookbooks that is warm with lardons and a warm poached egg on top that I would crawl to get. OMG is that good.
Braised lamb shank and braised Brussels sprouts are wonderful over a bed of lentils done in much the way that carswell describes.