Ragoût of Beluga Lentils
The Red Lion Inn and Main Street Catering and Events, Stockbridge, MA; Eat on North and Seeds Market Café, Pittsfield, MA
Beluga lentils are large, plump black lentils that are available in specialty gourmet stores. They have a delicate flavor and a slightly firmer texture than small, green French lentils. Though this dish was served alongside Brian Alberg’s intricate roasted poussin (baby chicken) with foie gras farce (stuffing) at his Beard House dinner, it is a simple, elegant accompaniment for a multitude of basic dishes. Our recipe tester served it with roasted cod and tomato sauce and was pleased with the way the lentils, fragrant with smoky bacon and herbs, paired with the sturdy baked fish. To increase the yield, simply double or triple the ingredients proportionately.
- 2 ounces smoked bacon, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons finely diced fennel
- 2 tablespoons finely diced carrots
- 2 tablespoons finely diced shallots
- 1 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves
- 1/2 cup beluga lentils
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- Coarse salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a sauté pan or shallow saucepan, cook the bacon until all of the fat has rendered. Add the garlic, fennel, carrots, shallots, and thyme. Cook for about 2 minutes, until the vegetables are slightly softened. Add the lentils and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute, or until heated through. Add the chicken stock and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. If the liquid evaporates before the lentils are fully cooked, add water in small increments. Check the seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.
2 servings as a side dish