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Use Your Kale in This Slow-Cooking Lentil Dish


I still have plenty of kale growing in the backyard, so I’m always on the lookout for new ideas of what to do with it.

Lentils with Kale and Shallots

Lentils with Kale and Shallots

This recipe, from Jody Williams’ “Buvette: The Pleasure of Good Food” (Bookish, $30), fit the bill. It combined kale with another favorite, lentils, plus a healthy dose of garlic, chile peppers and sweet shallots. It didn’t require a lot of work, but it did need time to cook.

As Williams writes, “This hearty lentil dish is all about patience and slow cooking. You want the kale to really cook to the point where it just about loses its physical integrity and all of its freshness is dissolved into the lentils. The effect becomes rich and comforting. And while this is completely vegetarian, I am not. Really, I am just opportunistic and I believe in the freedom of what works well. Which is to say, this would be great with bacon!”

That led me to use pork stock instead of water.  I also used a good glug of olive oil on the top, so it may appear brothy — a no-no, according to Williams, who runs Buvette restaurants in New York and Paris — it is simply rich and delicious. If you do a vegetarian version, this could be a main course for two or three people. It would make a great meal with a simple salad and some rustic bread.

Lentils with Kale and Shallots

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 shallots, peeled and diced
5 garlic cloves, peeled and trimmed
2 dried red chiles or 1 teaspoon red chile flakes
1 bunch kale, finely chopped
1 cup dark lentils
Coarse salt
4 cups water
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Crème Fraiche, for serving
Some really high quality extra-virgin olive oil, for serving

Heat the ¼ cup olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, garlic, chile, and kale and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the lentils, a healthy pinch of salt and the water. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently until the lentils and kale are not just cooked through, but really soft and lovely, a good hour, maybe even two; it will depend on the age and type of lentil you choose. Splash the mixture with additional water as it cooks, if it is threatening to dry out; you want the final product to be moist, but not at all brothy. Just before serving, stir in the nutmeg and season the mixture with salt.

Serve hot or at room temperature with generous spoonfuls of cold crème fraiche and a healthy drizzle of the raw, high-quality extra-virgin olive oil.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

From “Buvette: The Pleasure of Good Food” by Jody Williams

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Do Some Spring Cleaning with Winter Legume Soup


“This hearty soup is taken from the Sicilian tradition of emptying your cupboards at the end of winter to make a pot of soup and clear the way for spring,” writes chef Jody Williams in “Buvette: The Pleasure of Good Food” (Grand Central Life & Style, $30). “It’s sometimes referred to as San Guiseppe Soup because spring cleaning coincides with the celebration of St. Joseph (Giuseppe in Italian).”

Winter Legume Soup

buvette1/2 cup dried garbanzo beans
1 cup dried fava beans
1 cup green split peas
1/2 cup dried cranberry beans
1/2 cup green lentils
Extra-virgin olive oil
Leaves from 2 bunches Swiss chard, washed and roughly chopped
1 yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and finely diced
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, finely ground
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Freshly ground black pepper
Coarse salt
8 thick slices toast, rubbed with garlic, for serving

Place the garbanzo beans in a bowl, cover with cold water and allow them to soak overnight. You can leave them out at room temperature or place them in the refrigerator. Wherever they’re out of the way!

The next day, drain the garbanzo beans and set aside.

beansPlace the fava beans, split peas, cranberry beans and lentils into a large bowl and cover with warm water. Let the legumes soak for half an hour. Drain them and set them aside, separate from the garbanzo beans.

Meanwhile, place 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the Swiss chard, onion and fennel, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 15 minutes.

Stir the ground fennel seeds and the tomato paste into the vegetables and cook until fragrant, just about a minute. Stir in the drained garbanzo beans and cover the mixture with water. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce the heat, and allow it to simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the reserved legumes to the pot and add enough water to cover. Cook until all of the legumes are tender and soft and the sou pis quite thick, about 1 1/2 hours, adding water as the soup is cooking, if it gets too dry or too thick at any point. Season the soup with plenty of salt and pepper. Place a piece of garlic-rubbed toast into the bottom of each of eight soup bowls, drizzle each slice liberally with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the hot soup over the toast and serve immediately.

Makes 8 servings.

From “Buvette: The Pleasure of Good Food” by Jody Williams

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