During an afternoon excursion to Château de Vaumarcus, I discovered Swiss green lentils: Lentilles de Sauverny. These lentils are an excellent source of protein, locally-grown and shelf-stable—particularly important for those Sundays when I have nothing to cook and nothing here is open. While I’m sharing a new recipe for an allergy-friendly version of Lentilles à l’ancienne (dairy/egg/nut-free), I must disclose that even though my dear children have tried it twice now, they refuse to eat lentils. If you like lentils, however, this is an easy recipe for a nutritious legume with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.
At the castle in Vaumarcus, we found a small store selling produits du terroir, such as local wines, baked goods, and jam, etc. It was a nice surprise, and I found a few Swiss food products I hadn’t encountered before. The lentils immediately caught my eye, so I grabbed a bag to take home. A farm in the Geneva region, Ferme Courtois has been growing green lentils since 1995. Lentils are often paired with la longeole (IGP), a fatty Swiss sausage, also from Geneva, made of gelatinous pork and fennel seeds.
On the package, I discovered an easy recipe for Lentilles à l’ancienne. I first made it with olive oil and soy cream, but greatly preferred the version with dairy-free margarine and coconut milk. Since my finicky boys won’t eat it (for now, at least), I’ll continue to use it as a side dish, while searching for new ways to prepare lentils they may actually enjoy…
Lentilles à l’ancienne (Lentils of old)
Adapted recipe originally from Ferme Courtois.
1 cup green lentils
3 cups water
1-2 shallots, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dairy-free margarine (vegetable/olive oil works too)
Scant cup of coconut milk
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
salt and pepper, to taste
Toppings: chopped parsley, cilantro or green onions
1. Rinse lentils thoroughly and pick out any debris or rocks. Place in a pot with the water and bring to a boil. Simmer over medium heat for 20-30 minutes, until the lentils are tender.
2. Drain the lentils. Whisk together the coconut milk and dijon mustard and set aside. Then, saute the chopped shallots in dairy-free margarine until they soften a bit and turn slightly translucent.
3. Add the drained lentils and the coconut milk and mustard mixture and stir together. Simmer over medium to low heat for another 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with freshly chopped parsley, cilantro or green onions to add some color.
How do you prepare lentils? Any and all suggestions are welcomed. I just received a recipe this week from a kind reader that I’m looking forward to trying. Bon week-end!