Monday, December 14, 2009

Braised Lentils with Saffron

I'm not sure what variety my CSA lentils are, but they're petite and brown .. I'm guessing they're French.

We first tasted this unusual combination at Taverna Tagaris. When I decided to try to make it at home, I found online that the combination of saffron and lentils isn't unusual at all. Some recipes include meat and vegetables, but I like the simplicity of the just the lentils and seasonings. The saffron seems to lift and compliment the flavor of the lentils. And that's no small feat ... lentils are quite mild flavored.

This recipe is adapted from several I found online. Red lentils give a lovely final presentation, but brown lentils work, too. The important thing is not to overcook the lentils. They should not break down, but remain whole, swimming in just a bit of broth.

This recipe makes 5 or 6 hearty servings.


1-3/4 cup lentils
1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
1/4 cup white wine
1 teaspoon saffron threads
2-4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade

Sort and rinse the lentils. Place them in a bowl and soak for about 6 hours, then rinse again and drain.

Heat chicken stock in a separate pan. The amount of stock needed will vary depending on the lentils.

Heat the olive oil or butter in a skillet over medium heat, and add the drained lentils, stirring to coat. Heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, then stir in the wine and saffron. After the wine has mostly evaporated, add hot chicken stock to just cover the lentils. Cover and simmer gently for 12 to 20 minutes, adding broth if the lentils become dry. Taste for salt and texture. The lentils should retain their shape and be slightly chewy, but not hard. Remember that they should be swimming in just a bit of broth. Serve immediately in individual ramekins.

1 comment:

  1. Well, finally, some produce *I* can relate to! Our family farm (I'm 5th generation owner), up in the Palouse, grows lentils. We grow "Brewer's" variety, which are small, greenish-brown. Look like the ones in your box, perhaps?