January in the Kitchen – Lentils with slow cooked Tuscan kale

Lentils with Slow Cooked Tuscan Kale

kale with lentils

Tuscan kale with lentils

Kale is one of the vegetables thriving this winter in my garden. I’m starting to harvest Tuscan kale, sometimes called nero di Toscana, and will continue until late spring. By taking only the bottom leaves I should be able to extend the season until warmer weather starts and I need the space for summer vegetables.

Tuscan kale, is extraordinarily nutritious: a cup provides more than 100 percent of the daily value of vitamins K and A, and 88 percent of the value for vitamin C. Like other members of the brassica family such as cabbage, collards and Brussels sprouts, kale is a rich source of organosulfur compounds that have been linked to cancer prevention.

This combination of lentils and kale is delicious, it works well as a side dish or vegetarian main dish. Even better, it is good hot or at room temperature. The slow cooked kale melts into the lentils giving them an extra boost of flavor.

I used some wonderful leftover lentils (they were in the freezer from the post Lentils with Roast Vegetable Stacks). You will find the recipe for those lentils below. Make a double batch and freeze them. However, if you don’t have any left over from a dinner or in the freezer, you can make this dish from scratch. See the directions at the end. It doesn’t take any longer.

Slow Cooked Kale

  • 1 bunch of Tuscan Kale
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced fine
  • 3 shallots, peeled and minced
  • 1 dried red chili
  1. Wash the kale and remove the tough center stem, chop the kale into small pieces.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the shallots, garlic, chili, and kale. Cook until the vegetables are beginning to soften (about 5 minutes).
  4. Add 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and stir until the kale reduces and sinks into the liquid.
  5. Continue to cook for 30 minutes, then add the lentils.
  6. Cook for another 30 minutes (adding additional water if it seems too dry) on low heat until the kale melts into the lentils.
  7. Serve, garnished with sour cream, cilantro or parsley, and salt as needed.

Lentils

  • 1 1/2 cups Umbrian lentils or lentils du Puy
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more
  • 2 large shallots, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, mashed
  • 1 small dried chili
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2/3 cup of dry red wine
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 chopped scallions
  • 2 tablespoons of butter (optional)
  1. Put the lentils in a saucepan with 3 cups of water, 1 teaspoon salt, the bay leaf, and dried pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a lively simmer and cook until the lentils are tender but hold some texture, about 25 minutes.
  2. While they are cooking, heat the 2 teaspoons of oil in a large skillet. Add the shallots and carrot, season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cook over medium-high heat until the vegetables are browned, about 10 minutes. Stir frequently.
  3. Add the garlic and tomato paste, cook for 1 minute then add the wine. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer until the liquid is syrupy and the vegetables tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the mustard and add the cooked lentils with their broth. If made ahead, stop at this point.
  5. When you are ready to reheat, bring the contents of your pot to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cook until the sauce is reduced. Stir in the scallions, and optional butter, taste for salt, add freshly ground pepper.

(Lentil Recipe adapted from Debra Madison’s The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and 101 Cookbooks.)

kale with lentils

Tuscan kale with lentils

This recipe lentils with kale is adapted from the book Buvette: The Pleasure of Good Food by Jody Williams.

Lentils with Kale when you have not leftover lentils

  • 1 bunch of Tuscan Kale
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil plus more for serving
  • 4 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced fine
  • 3 shallots, peeled and minced
  • 1 dried red chili
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 cup of dark lentils
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground or grated nutmeg
  • Sour cream, scallions, parsley or cilantro for garnish and serving
  1. Wash the kale and remove the tough center stem, chop the kale into small pieces.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the shallots, garlic, chili, and kale. Cook until the vegetables are beginning to soften (about 5 minutes).
  4. Add 4 cups of water, the lentils, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer slowly until the kale and lentils are cooked through. You want the kale to melt into the lentils. This will take an hour. Add extra water if it seems to dry. The end should be soft and moist but not swimming in liquid.
  5. Serve, garnished with nutmeg, scallions, sour cream, cilantro or parsley, and salt as needed.
Lentils and Kale

Tuscan Kale with Lentils

12 thoughts on “January in the Kitchen – Lentils with slow cooked Tuscan kale

  1. Since going Paleo lentils are the one thing I haven’t managed to adequately replace in Indian cuisine. The nearest I’ve come so far was very finely diced root vegetables fried off in oil.

    Even though kale is popular right now, our ears-to-the-ground local supermarket haven’t got around to stocking it yet. Time for another nag message on their Facebook page, I believe… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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