Braised Lentil Pilaf with Bacon, Arugula and Autumn Herbs
Vice President of Culinary Development
Main Street Hospitality Group
The foundation of this pilaf is a blend of green, French green and black beluga lentils, along with split garbanzo beans. The combo of colors and textures in the legumes adds interest to the pilaf, while the bacon, arugula and herbs infuse it with flavor. Chef Albert serves this satisfying dish at the Red Lion Inn, located in Stockbridge, Mass., where snowy New England weather gets an early start.
2 oz. smoked bacon, diced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. finely diced fennel
2 tbsp. finely diced carrots
2 tbsp. finely diced shallots
1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
½ cup dried legume blend (split garbanzo beans combined with green, French green and black beluga lentils)
1 cup packed baby arugula
1½ cups chicken stock
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1. In saute pan or shallow saucepan, cook bacon until all the fat has rendered. Add garlic, fennel, carrots, shallots and thyme; cook over medium heat about 2 minutes, until the vegetables are slightly softened.
2. Add lentil blend; cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until heated through. Stir in chicken stock; simmer for 15 minutes, or until lentils are tender.
3. Stir arugula to lentil mixture; stir until wilted. If liquid evaporates before the lentils are fully cooked, add water in small increments. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm, as a side for roasted poultry, meat or seafood. Or top with a poached or sunnyside-up egg for an entree.
Photograph courtesy of InHarvest, Inc.