The other night I was feeling creative, and I wanted to take advantage of some ingredients I had on hand: fresh spinach from the farmers market, white mushrooms, French lentils I picked up in the newly discovered bulk bins at the local food co-op, and the end of an open box of vegetable broth. I used this recipe from Closet Cooking as inspiration and got to work.
The result was delicious, if a little overcooked (I watched a whole episode of Star Trek: Voyager while waiting for the lentils to cook and found out that 42 minutes is too long). The dish was dark, sort of earthy tasting; the flavor was subtle but strong. It was the first time I'd tried French lentils, so I'm not sure which flavor was coming through the most.
Lentils with Mushroom and Spinach
- About 1 cup French lentils (also called puy lentils), rinsed and sorted
- A few white mushrooms, chopped
- One small onion, chopped
- Fresh spinach - half a bunch?
- Finely chopped/minced garlic (about a clove)
- White wine
- 1-2 cups vegetable broth
- Bay leaf
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Sautee onions in oil for a couple minutes, using a medium- or large-size pan. Add mushrooms, then garlic. Add a couple splashes of wine.
- Add bay leaf and lentils to pan. Pour in vegetable broth (and/or water) until lentils are just covered.
- Simmer covered until lentils are almost cooked (probably 20 minutes; don't watch a whole Voyager).
- Add spinach on top, cover, and cook until spinach wilts (another 5-10 minutes). The spinach cooks down, so add a lot.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve.