The small, speckled green legumes known as Le Puy lentils—usually labeled French lentils—have a subtle taste and can be counted on to hold their shape. They are sold in natural food stores and gourmet shops. For a flavor boost, stir in fresh thyme leaves just before serving and top each serving with chopped fennel fronds.
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 12 oz. cremini or button mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
- 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced leeks (white and light green parts only), well-rinsed before slicing
- 2 tsp. minced garlic
- 2 tsp. dried herbes de Provence or 1/2 tsp. each: dried tarragon, thyme, rosemary and basil
- 1 tsp. fennel seeds
- 1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup French green lentils
- 2 cups diced fennel (hard core removed) or celery
- 1/2 cup picholine or niçoise olives or other small Mediterranean brine- cured olives (or a combination)
- 2 tsp. grated lemon peel
- 2 to 3 tsp. Balsamic Syrup
- picholine or nicoise olives or other small Mediterranean brine- cured olives
In heavy 5- to 6-quart pot, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sprinkle with 1⁄2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring almost constantly, until mushrooms are browned, 7 minutes.
Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add leeks, garlic, herbs and fennel seeds. Cook, stirring often, until leeks soften slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in wine and cook until almost all is evaporated, about 1 minute.
Add broth, lentils and fennel, stir and bring to a boil. Cover and gently boil until lentils are tender, 40 to 50 minutes. About halfway through cooking time, taste and add more herbs if necessary. Stir in olives. Cover and cook 3 to 4 minutes.
Add salt to taste, lemon peel and Balsamic Syrup. Serve in shallow soup bowls. Garnish with fennel fronds
- Calories: 263
- Carbohydrate Content: 27 g
- Fat Content: 6 g
- Fiber Content: 7 g
- Protein Content: 13 g
- Saturated Fat Content: 1 g
- Sodium Content: 248 mg