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Leek, Fennel and Garlic Confit with Lentils du Puy, Parsley & Dill

4 May 2021

Yeah baby, what a dish! Such simple ingredients yet packed full of flavour. The leek, fennel and garlic is slowly cooked at a low temperature in a good layer of good quality olive oil. Cooked Lentils du Puy are added for the last 20 minutes so they can soak up all the flavours and a creamy sauce is made with some of the softened vegetables, mustard and lemon juice. Wow, mind blowing.

It’s the first time I’ve cooked with lentils du Puy, as it’s not readily available in all supermarkets in Amsterdam. I now finally get the fuss! They need to cook for ± 40 minutes (as opposed to red and green lentils, which need ± 15 – 20 minutes), they really keep their shape, have an al dente texture and hold their own really well in the dish. Can’t wait to try more recipes with them!

I served it with pan seared sea bream with a hazelnut and lemon crumb and creamy cauliflower puree, but more on those in a later post ;-). A lovely Saturday night dinner.

Serve hot as is or even cold the next day. Great to prepare ahead of time!

Leek, Fennel and Garlic Confit with Lentils du Puy, Parsley & Dill

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Dinner, lunch, salad, side French
By Saffron & Ottolenghi Serves: 4-6 as a side
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 1 hour 30 minutes Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 medium leeks, white and light greens cut into 2-centimeter-thick rounds
  • 1 whole fennel, green fronds kept aside, the rest sliced into 5 mm slices
  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
  • 10 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 150 grams dried French (Le Puy) lentils, washed (or regular green lentils)
  • 100 ml heavy / double cream
  • 1 tsp teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • Lemon juice from 2 medium lemons (± 5 tbsp)
  • 3 tbsp parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsps fresh dill leaves, roughly chopped
  • Salt & Pepper

Instructions

1

Preheat oven to 180°C.

2

Cut the leeks lengthwise down the middle, leaving the stem on at the bottom. This makes it easier to rinse the leeks. Rinse them well and then slice intp 2 cm thick rings. Use both white and green part.

3

Add the leeks, fennel, garlic, thyme and a good grind of pepper and salt to 30-by-20-centimeter baking tray. Mix gently to combine, then pour the oil on top, making sure everything is coated and a bit covered. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 35 minutes.

4

Remove the baking tray from the oven and gently mix everything around.

5

Cover again with foil and return to the oven to bake until completely softened, about 35 minutes more at 200°C.

6

In the meantime cook the lentils until just tender but not at all mushy, ± 12 minutes. Drain and set aside.

7

When ready, remove the confit leeks and fennel from the oven and transfer ± 1/2 heaped cup of the cooked leeks and fennel and 4 of the garlic cloves to bowl and set aside for later (we'll be using this to make the sauce).

8

Add the cooked lentils to the baking tray, season with salt and a good grind of pepper; mix gently to combine.

9

Cover again with the foil and return to the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a final 10 minutes.

10

In the meantime make the sauce: Add the reserved leeks, fennel and garlic to a food processor along with the heavy cream, mustard and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Blitz until smooth, taste and season with pepper and salt to your liking.

11

Remove the baking tray from the oven and let settle for 5 minutes. Discard the thyme sprigs.

12

Stir the remaining 4 tablespoons lemon juice and the chopped herbs into the lentil and vegetable mixture.

13

Transfer to a rimmed dish and serve with the leek cream in a bowl alongside.

14

Serve hot as is or even cold the next day. Great to prepare ahead of time!

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