I generally have a guilty feeling about puy lentils. I love their slate green colour and the cool feel of them slipping through my fingers, but I tend to like looking at them better than cooking with them. They’re not quite as adaptable as other pulses. They don’t blend easily into soups and spreads like split red lentils and yellow split peas. They can’t be mashed as a base for burgers like the bigger pulses can. And at 45 minutes cooking time they’re just that little on the slow side for a quick evening meal. So they tend to sit in their jar in the cupboard, looking good but not getting used.
I didn’t start off this recipe thinking about puy lentils. I was actually looking at ways of getting more green leafy vegetables into my diet when my cooking habits are not of a no-meat and two veg variety. I thought of a stew with green cabbage added right at the end and the idea of adding a green pulse to this was irresistible. I’ve also added mushrooms to add a meaty mouthfeel to the stew as well. This stew has a real depth of flavour, I would recommend serving to a meat-eater who needs to be convinced about eating pulses.
A quick note about puy lentils – give them a quick once-over before adding them to the pot. Alone of all the pulses I’ve used these can occasionally hide small bits of gravel amongst them.
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 leek, chopped
100g puy lentils
500ml veg stock
1 tbsp mushroom ketchup
1/2 tsp marmite
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
100g green cabbage, shredded
Soften the garlic and leeks in a little oil in a saucepan.
Add the mushrooms, lentils, stock, mushroom ketchup, marmite, bay leaf and tarragon.
Simmer for 45 minutes until the lentils are soft and tender.
Remove the bay leaf.
Take the pan off the heat, stir in the cabbage and let it wilt in the heat of the stew.
Season with salt and pepper.
Just before serving, squeeze some lemon juice over it.
Goes well with leek puddings.