• Lentils – great winter food

I love lentils.  Green, orange, yellow – any kind of lentil.  There’s something very comforting about them, they’re easy to prepare and really satisfying.  I often make a batch to serve with duck confit, a simple Toulouse sausage or griddled salmon.

I normally use Puy lentils as they hold their shape better than some but any green lentil will do. First of all put them in a pan of water and bring them to the boil, then drain, rinse and put them back in the pot.  Add an onion, a couple of cloves of garlic, a finely diced carrot, a bay leaf and a sprig of two of fresh thyme, add stock to cover and bring to the boil again.

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After draining put the lentils back in the pot with the onion, garlic bay and thyme

Simmer for about 20 minutes until tender but not mushy and then remove from the heat.  Take out the bay leaves and thyme, drain them from the stock (keep the liquid) and then transfer half the cooked lentils to a food processor and blitz to a purée.  You can add some unsalted butter if you’re feeling decadent but this is not essential.  Return the purée to the pan containing the whole lentils and gently reheat – voilà!

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Blitz half the lentils to form a creamy purée adding some cubes of cold unsalted butter if you want the luxury version

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Add the purée back to the pan of whole lentils and reheat gently

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Serve with crispy duck confit, sausages or griddled salmon

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Keep the cooking stock – if you want to serve the lentils the next day use this to slacken them while reheating