Lentils Braised in Red Wine

This is another wonderful vegetarian dish with rich red wine flavours. Delicious on its own or fantastic as an accompaniment to Italian sausages, chargrilled steak, or venison. Enjoy with a glass of any of our reds – the Merlot is particularly good.

Serves: 8

1 carrot
2 cloves garlic
1 stick of celery
1 large onion
100 grams streaky bacon
3 tablespoons olive oil
500 grams lentils – Beluga, Puy or Castelluccio
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
300 millilitres red wine
750 millilitres water
olive oil for dressing
1 handful fresh parsley (optional)

1. Peel the carrot and garlic cloves and chop finely with the celery, onion and streaky bacon, or process everything until finely chopped. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the chopped or processed vegetables and streaky bacon. Cook them over a gentle heat until soft, which will take up to about 10 minutes.
2. Tip the lentils into the pan and stir them around to get slicked with the oil, and then add the bay leaves and Dijon mustard.
3. Pour in the red wine and the water, or enough water so that the lentils are just covered in liquid. Bring to the boil and cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until just tender. One of the good things about the Beluga lentils is they tend not to turn mushy, so there’s less problem about overcooking.
4. When the lentils are cooked, check the seasoning and add salt if necessary and dress with a little olive oil as you serve them. If you are cooking the lentils in advance, simply take them off the heat, and put the pan in a cool place somewhere (say on a chilly stainless-steel surface or near a window out of the sun). Warm through the next day by adding a little water and olive oil and keeping them, covered, on low heat until warm.
5. Then take the lid off and stir through with a wooden spatula to help them get hot throughout.
6. Transfer to a serving dish, tasting for seasoning and dressing with a little olive oil as you do so. If you want some freshly chopped parsley on top, scatter as desired. I rather like, however, their uninterrupted muddy blackness.

Recipe and image thanks to Nigella – see the original version and many more wonderful recipes here: https://www.nigella.com/recipes/lentils-braised-in-red-wine