Lockdown Lentils

St John's style green lentils

St John’s Style Lentils

So, we’ve all been buying up huge stores of pulses – sensible, as they keep so well, are wonderfully versatile and highly nutritious BUT the big question is …Will all these pulses be cooked and eaten? Or have they been stockpiled, ready for a worst-case scenario that will hopefully never come?

Over the last few weeks I’ve been bombarded with questions about which lentil for which dish, how to cook them and more inspiration for what to do with them.

So, I’ve finally resurrected my blog (about time too) and will give you a few pointers. …In a nutshell:

Tiny lentils such as Puy, Pardina, Castellucio, Beluga and their equally small, anonymous relatives such as French small green lentils or, the British grown, Hodmedod’s olive green lentils are perfect for salads or any dish where you want the lentil to keep its definition and shape.

Here are a few of my recipes for tiny lentils ( you’ll have to spin down each blog for the recipe – you never know, you might even read it!)
Simple Lentil Salad ( this made me SO nostalgic about being at Chassignoles, in France)
Roast Vegetable and Lentil Salad
Rhubarb  and Lentil Curry ( this would work with the bigger lentils below too)
Tangy Orange Lentils ( could also work with larger lentils)
Or you could find the glorious green lentil dish in the featured picture above on the @St.John.Restaurant Instagram.

The flatter, bigger lentils, usually referred to, quite simply, as brown or green lentils, are great for meaty or mushroomy stews where you want the lentils to go soft and partially collapse. These are particularly good added to a Bolognese sauce or any ragù in place of some of the meat, making ethically sourced meat stretch a little further – they will be tender by the time you’ve simmered your meat for a good hour to concentrate the flavours.

Middle Eastern Lentils ( So good mixed in with rice as a mujadarra too)
Wild Mushroom and Lentil Soup (With Puy but could be with any green/brown lentil)
Haddock with Creamy Lentils ( Just as good with a poached egg).
Mushroom, Walnut and Lentil Ragù  (A brilliant veggie recipe from Elly Pear that works just as well with the tiny lentils too)

Red lentils are basically skinned green or brown lentils that have split in half. They cook really quickly and collapse down completely and so are ideal for soups and stews.
Coconut, Squash and Lentil soup ( over on the fab’ Fiona Beckett’s Matching Food and Wine site)
Simple Tomato Dal (on The British Dal Site where you’ll find loads lentil more inspiration).

And a few tips
* Lentils don’t require any soaking although an hour can be a good idea for beautifully even cooking.
* Simply cooked lentils with a bit of seasoning and olive oil will keep in your fridge for 5 days.
* Pulses freeze brilliantly -so no need for any food waste
* Lentils need plenty of seasoning and some good oil, or fat, to really make them sing.

8 thoughts on “Lockdown Lentils

  1. Paul

    Thanks for the delicious sounding recipes. Looking forward to trying them out.

    I found your blog when I came across an old photo album- remember those? You weren’t ever a guide for a group of high school students from the state of Virginia from the US? Through Andalucia in 1988? Our guide was a Jenny Chandler and I have a picture of her (you?) and was curious.

    If it was you, you were a wonderful guide for a bunch of kids in their late teens. Hope you are doing well in these crazy times.



    1. Jenny Chandler Post author

      How absolutely extraordinary – YES, that’s me. Were you one of the kids or the teachers? That was straight after my university finals and such an amazing time. I worked for ACIS for a few years and my sister still does. So, so lovely to get this blast from the past. Do you do insta? It would be lovely to be in touch. Yes crazy, very worrying times. Jenny


      1. Paul

        Amazing world we live in…

        I was one of the students. Didn’t realize you had only recently finished university at the time – you seemed so grown-up to us! I’m not big into social media but have an old Instagram account. I’ll reach out to you there. Paul


    1. Paul

      Her newly married name was Mrs. Laurie. She might have been registered as Karen Barr for the trip as she was married just before we left. Amazing that that was over thirty years ago.

      I’ll try to post a couple pictures on Instagram. Just realized my message there may not have gone through in its entirety – apologies, am an Instagram neophyte.


    2. Paul

      Think I managed to get a couple pictures uploaded onto Instagram (I’m the kid second from the right with the bushy hair). Let me know if not. Enjoy!



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