An interesting combination of aromas and flavors elevate a simple lentil dish to new heights. French lentils, which are smaller and more round than brown lentils, retain their shape and integrity when filling this warm lentil preparation with distinctive flavors and textures. For a vegan version, the cheese may be omitted, but if cheese is in your diet give it a try, the balance it offers is lovely!
yield: 6-8 servings | prep time: 25 minutes | cooking time: 45 minutes
- 1 cup raw French lentils
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons olive oil (optional)
- 10 oil soaked sun dried tomatoes
- ¼ pound gruyere cheese (optional)
- 2 teaspoons Dijon style mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2½ tablespoons minced tarragon
- 1 Braeburn apple, peeled, cored and sliced
- Pick over the lentils to remove and discard all rocks and debris. Rinse the lentils well in several changes of water then place them in a 2 quart saucepan. Cover with water so that the water is about 2 inches higher than the top of the lentils.
- Bring the lentils to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium low. Skim and discard any scum that rises to the surface of the pan during the first few minutes of simmering. Add the olive oil and bay leaf and continue to cook the lentils until just tender, about 40 minutes. When the lentils are cooked, drain most of the cooking liquid from the lentil, leaving just enough to cover about ¼ of the lentils. They may be prepared up to 3 days in advance if stored in an airtight container.
- Drain the sun dried tomatoes and pat excess oil off of them then chop them into ½ inch pieces. Trim any rind from the cheese, then cut it into very small dice — pieces that are not much bigger than the lentils.
- In a saucepan, combine the lentils with the sun dried tomatoes along with the mustard, salt, pepper and tarragon. Warm through. Just before serving, stir in the cheese. Arrange slices of apples on individual or one large serving plate. Turn the warm lentils out onto the plate partially covering the apples and serve immediately.