Lentils with Kale, Goat Cheese, and Walnuts
(Adapted from Laura Calder)
1 cup French green (du Puy) lentils
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of fresh thyme, or a pinch of dried
2 tablespoons (or more) olive oil
2 large shallots, diced (or one medium red onion, diced)
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups kale, roughly chopped
splash of balsamic vinegar
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
scant 1 cup of walnuts
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
(1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place walnuts on a sheet tray and bake for 10 minutes, or until golden and toasted. Do not burn! Once they cool, roughly chop into large pieces.
(2) Put the lentils in a saucepan with 1 1/3 cups of water, the bay leaf, and thyme sprig. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 25-30 minutes. If the liquid is not all absorbed, just drain off any excess.
(3) Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan or dutch oven. Saute the onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for about a minute, then add the kale and cook until it has wilted a bit, about 2-4 minutes. Add a little more olive oil if necessary to soften the kale. Season with kosher salt and several grinds of fresh ground pepper.
(4) Deglaze the pan with a healthy splash of balsamic vinegar, and stir to incorporate. Add the cooked lentils, taste and reseason with more salt and pepper, if necessary (I found mine needed quite a bit! Lentils are pretty bland otherwise). Add more balsamic vinegar if you like that sweet acidic roundness like I do.
(5) Place the lentil mixture in a large serving dish, and top with the crumbled goat cheese and chopped walnuts. Drizzle with a little more olive oil if you like (I enjoyed the way it made the final dish glisten a bit). Serve warm.