I usually have lentils when I eat Indian food. Lentils are common in Indian cuisine but is also present in many European dishes. Roast chicken and lentils is a great combination and I first encountered it while watching Nigella Lawson serve lentils and chicken together. They are also a great source of protein. The first time I boiled up some lentils, they turned out mushy. I decided to do some research, source for some French lentils and try again.
This method is from The Kitchn and produces yummy, lightly seasoned lentils. You can cook lentils in plain water or use stock depending on what you are serving the lentils with.
How to Cook Lentils on the Stove
- 1 cup dried green, brown, or French lentils
- 2 cups water or stock
- 1 bay leaf, 1 garlic clove, or other seasonings (optional) (I used one garlic clove and one bay leaf)
- 1/4 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
Any amount of lentils can be cooked in this manner. Just maintain the 2:1 ratio of water to lentils described below.
- Wash Lentils: Measure the lentils into a strainer or colander. Pick over and remove any shriveled lentils, debris, or rocks. Thoroughly rinse under running water.
- Combine Lentils and Water: Transfer the rinsed lentils to a saucepan and pour in the water. Add any seasonings being used, reserving the salt.
- Cook the Lentils: Bring the water to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer. You should only see a few small bubble and some slight movement in the lentils. Cook, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes. Add water as needed to make sure the lentils are just barely covered.
- Salt the Lentils: Lentils are cooked as soon as they are tender and no longer crunchy. Older lentils may take longer to cook and shed their outer skins as they cook. Strain the lentils and remove any seasonings. Return the lentils to the pan and stir in 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Taste and add additional salt as needed.
- Seasoning and Using Cooked Lentils: Cooked lentils will keep refrigerated for about a week. Season them with olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, fresh herbs, and eat them on their own. Lentils can also be added to soups, salads, or other recipes.