Lentils, like beans, soak up whatever flavors they’re cooked in. Here, it’s a chile oil made with both dried and fresh chiles, so it’s devilishly spiced — not just spicy. Simmer the lentils in the potent oil and some tomato paste until they’re glossy and tender, rich and spicy as you’d expect from a diavolo-style sauce. (Add more water if you’re after more of a quasi-chili.) Eat the lentils with a spray of lemon juice, parsley and-or bread crumbs on toast, grains, pasta, a sweet potato, bitter greens or all on their own. The lentils will keep for up to 4 days in the fridge; reheat over low heat or in the microwave loosened with a little water.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 4tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1jalapeño, halved, seeded if desired, and finely chopped
- 6garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1teaspoon black pepper
- ½teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- ¼cup tomato paste
- 1 ½cups brown or green lentils
- 1teaspoon kosher salt
Step 1Heat the oil in a medium saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the jalapeño, garlic, paprika, black pepper and red-pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds.
Step 2Add the lentils, and cover with 1 1/2 inches of water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then lower to a gentle simmer and cook until the lentils are soft and the water has mostly evaporated, 30 to 35 minutes. If they are looking dry at any point, add a little hot water. Season with the salt and serve.