Braised Leeks and Carrots with Parsleyed Beluga Lentils

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I have a habit of spending my mornings thinking about what I am going to make myself for my next meal.  Who am I kidding, it’s not just mornings and not just meals; I am a compulsive planner.  Everyday, I have a game plan of how what I am going to do, arranging errands and classes to flow as seamlessly as possible with as much efficiency as possible.  I feel unreasonably proud of myself when I manage to arrange a day in which not a minute is wasted and all tasks fluidly fall into place as planned.

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Anyways, back to food. I spent all morning thinking of how I was going to use the leeks and carrots and parsley that I had sitting in my fridge, and because it was freezing outside I decided braising was a good way to go.

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The leeks became surprisingly silky and delicious, and the parsley and lemon in the salsa verde provided just the right jolt of bright freshness to the dish. Plus, the colors are really pretty!

Braised Leeks and Carrots with Parsleyed Beluga Lentils

1 clove garlic

1 leek

1 carrot

A few leaves of rainbow chard

1/4 cup beluga lentils

for the salsa verde:

1 bunch parsley

1 clove garlic

1 anchovy fillet

1 lemon

parmesan cheese

olive oil

salt, pepper

Pour the beluga lentils into a small pot of salted water and bring to a boil.  Cook the lentils for about 25 minutes, or until soft.  They will not get as soft as brown lentils, but will retain some toothsome texture.

Cut the leek in half lengthwise and then in half again (so it isn’t too long).  Cut the carrot in a similar way, and roughly chop the chard leaves and stems.  Warm a pan with some olive oil, then add in the diced garlic and briefly sautee to release its flavor. Add in the leek, carrot, and chard, season with salt and pepper and let them brown a little.  After about a minute or two, pour in enough water to halfway submerge them, and cover the pan.  Simmer the vegetables for about 15-20 minutes, until tender.  You can remove the lid towards the end to let the water evaporate.

In the meantime, prepare the salsa verde.  Put the parsley, garlic, anchovy, the juice of half a lemon, a few tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese, and a few tablespoons of olive oil in a food processor and process until it resembles a chunky pesto.  Add salt and pepper to taste and blend again to combine.

When the vegetables are done, drain them if there is excess water and put them on a plate.  Drain the lentils and mix them with the salsa verde. Put them on top of the braised vegetables and enjoy! Serves 1 as a whole meal or 2 as a side dish.

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