Lentils Braised in Red Wine

This is one of my favorite ways to cook lentils, slowly braised in 2 cups of red wine plus herbs and aromatics. The result is a complex French-style stew that pairs nicely with crusty bread, rice, or soft polenta. I recently had a half bottle of wine left over from a dinner party and remembered this recipe as a perfect way to use it. The recipe is inspired by Deborah Madison’s The Savory Way Cookbook.

Lentils Braised in Red Wine

1 cup brown or green lentils

1 tablespoon butter or vegan butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, chopped or sliced

2 bay leaves

leaves from several sprigs or thyme

1/2 bunch parsley, chopped

1 teaspoon tomato paste

2 cups red wine

1 1/2 cups water


red wine vinegar

1-2 tablespoons additional butter or vegan butter

additional chopped parsley

black pepper


Rinse the lentils well, cover them with hot water, and set them aside while you prepare everyone else.

Warm the butter and olive oil in a wide skillet or saute pan and add the onion, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and parsley. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions have begun to color. Stir in the tomato paste, then add the wine. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Drain the lentils and add them to the wine with the water, and lightly salt. Return to a boil, then lower the heat, cover the pan, and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes.

When the lentils are done, taste for salt, add a dash of vinegar to sharpen the flavors, and stir in the additional butter. Pepper generously, garnish with more parsley.

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