This recipe works equally well for French Lentils or Matilda Lentils. The secret is to cook them gently in good stock, fresh herbs and spices and after about an hour, test them every 10 minutes or so to see if they are ready. I gently stir through extra virgin olive oil as soon as they are cooked and drained, because the warm lentils soak up the aroma of the oil. This recipe is from Canal House Cooking Volume 4, the sensational series of recipe collections published in the US by my friend, Christopher Hirsheimer and partner Melissa Hamilton. Please check out their website**. Treat yourself to a subscription. Dee Nolan
Christopher and Melissa’s lentils
Ingredients extra virgin olive oil…1 onion, chopped finely…1 clove garlic, chopped finely…1 cup lentils…1 big sprig of thyme…1 tbsp ground fennel seeds…2 cups stock or water… chopped preserved lemon
Method Rinse the lentils and check for little stones. Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan over a medium heat. Cook the onions and garlic until soft - about 10 mins. Add the lentils, thyme, ground fennel and stock. Bring to a simmer, cover and barely simmer until the lentils are tender, between an hour and an hour and a half. Add more stock or water to keep them covered during cooking. Drain, coat with extra virgin olive oil. Add lemon rind to taste. Season with salt and pepper.