We love this Puy lentils with spinach dish, a balanced recipe full of healthy pulses and colorful spinach greens. It’s an ideal side to a meat dish but can be enjoyed as a filling lunch.
I’ve never been what you would call a lentil “fan”. I mean, they’re fine and everything as far as legumes/pulses go but I certainly don’t wake up thinking about a lentil dish I absolutely can’t wait to make. Until now.
There are a few … I don’t even want to say ‘tricks’ because it’s not like there’s any fanciness or magic going on here. It’s just that there are a couple of ingredients that elevate this humble dish and turn it truly delicious. In fact, it’s so simple that I’m afraid you’re going to roll your eyes and wonder if I’ve finally gone off my rocker. It’s not the huge bunch of baby spinach that gets stirred in or the swirl of Crème fraîche that it’s topped with.
It’s olive oil and vinegar. That’s it. The trick, if there is one, is to use more of both, at the very end, than seems appropriate.
These lentils need to be dressed like a salad. They need the smooth grassiness of good olive oil and the sharp tang of red wine vinegar. Start with a tablespoon or two of each and keep adding and tasting until it’s just right; earthy, piquant and delicious.
This puy lentils and spinach recipe (and the idea of serving it with duck legs) was inspired by this recipe by Jamie Oliver.
- If you’re making puy lentils with spinach for a dinner party, you could make it an hour or two ahead of time, but wait to add the spinach until just before you want to serve it. You want it bright green and fresh.
- Obviously leave out the Crème fraîche for a vegan version.
- If you have leftovers, you could add some extra stock for a delicious lentil soup.
- 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 medium onions peeled and finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- Duck fat or olive oil
- 2½ cups de Puy Lentils
- 5½ cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 medium potato (peeled and roughly chopped)
- 7 ounces of baby spinach
- sea salt and pepper
- Red wine vinegar
- Sour cream or Crème fraîche (optional)
- Bouquet garni
- small bunch of fresh thyme
- small bunch of flat leaf parsley
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- In a dutch oven (or large heavy-bottomed pot) heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil or duck fat until shimmering. Add the carrots and onions and cook until the vegetables begin to soften but not brown (about 10-12 min). Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes more, until the garlic is fragrant.
- Meanwhile, make the Bouquet Garni by tying together the rosemary, thyme, parsley and bay leaf with string
- Once the vegetables are soft, add the lentils, stock, potatoes and the bouquet garni. Cook uncovered for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. When ready, the lentils should be soft and most of the liquid should be absorbed. If the liquid is absorbed before the lentils are tender, add more stock (or water) ¼ cup at a time until they’re ready.
- When the lentils are finished, remove the bouquet garni. If the spinach leaves are larger, roughly chop them (or just add them is small) and stir into the lentils a bit at a time until they are all wilted. Cook for 4-5 minutes more.
- Season the lentils well with salt and pepper, a good glug of olive oil (3-4 tablespoons) and 3-4 tablespoons of red wine vinegar. Stir everything one last time and check the flavors again. The lentils should have a little vinegary tang to them but not be sour.
- To serve, spoon the lentils onto plates and swirl in a spoonful of sour cream or Crème fraîche (if using).