Photograph by Gentl and Hyers Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero Prop Styling by Theo Vamvounakis

Smoky Black Lentils & Radicchio

Starters from Issue 2 – Fall / Winter 2013 – Traces

Dark and moody, this hearty plate gets its smoky sensibility from finely chopped bits of bacon dispersed among the tender lentils and subtly charred wedges of radicchio. A final dousing of dense balsamic syrup adds extra dimension and a hint of sweetness.

serves 4

  • ¾ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup black lentils or French green lentils
  • 4 cups chicken stock or water
  • 3 strips bacon, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 head radicchio

  • 1

    Preheat oven to 375°F. Simmer vinegar in a small non-reactive saucepan until reduced to about ¼ cup, 8-10 minutes, then set aside.

  • 2

    Bring lentils, stock, and ½ tsp salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Simmer, uncovered, until the lentils are just tender, about 25 minutes.

  • 3

    While lentils simmer, cook bacon in oil and butter in a medium saucepan until brown. Stir in celery, onion, garlic, and thyme and cook, stirring often, until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

  • 4

    Meanwhile, cut radicchio into wedges and drizzle with a little olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast on a baking pan just until edges are charred and centers are almost tender, 8 to 10 minutes. (For a little extra char, you can broil briefly after roasting.)

  • 5

    Drain lentils and stir into vegetables. Cook together 1 minute. Serve radicchio nestled in lentils and drizzled with balsamic syrup and olive oil.