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Braised Root Vegetables with Black Lentils and red wine sauce with rutabaga potato puree

Deborah Madison herself says this is for when you want to "fuss a bit" or dazzle some winter guests.  I so enjoyed making this and eating this after our northern holidays in the winter that I had to put it up here.  I  made this without the lentils since I didn't have any and it was fabulous.  Serves 6 (or two with generous leftovers)

The Red Wine Sauce:

1/3 cup dried porcini

1 TBS olive oil

1 large onion, diced

1 large carrot, diced

2 celery ribs, diced

5 mushrooms and/or mushroom trimmings

parsnip tips and cores from the vegetables below

4 garlic cloves, smashed

aromatics: 2 thyme sprigs, 1 bay leaf, 1 (2") rosemary sprig

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1 TBS tomato paste

2 TBS all-purpose flour

2 cups Merlot

1 TBS soy sauce more or less

1 TBS unsalted butter


The Vegetables:

18-24 shallots or red pearl onions

2 large or 6 medium parsnips

6 medium carrots or 18 small carrots

5 large mushrooms

1 1/2 TBS olive oil

2 TBS unsalted butter

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

aromatics: 1 bay leaf, 2 thyme sprigs, 1 1/2 tsp minced rosemary

Rutabaga and Potato Puree (see recipe)

 2 TBS chopped parsley, chopped with 1 garlic clove


The lentils:

1/2 cup black "caviar" Beluga or French green lentils, sorted and rinsed

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 TBS unsalted butter


1. Cover the porcini with 1 quart warm water and set aside.  Heat the oil in a wide soup pot.  Add the vegetables, garlic, and aromatics.  Cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are well browned, about 20 minutes.  Season with 1 tsp sea salt and a little pepper.

2. Stir in the tomato paste and flour, then pour in the wine plus the dried mushrooms and their soaking liquid.  Vigorously scrape the bottom of the pot to work in the juices, then bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, covered, about 45 minutes.  Strain into a 1 quart measure.  You should have about 3 cups.  Return it to the pan and simmer until reduced to 2 1/2 cups, 15 to 20 minutes.  Add the soy sauce, then taste for salt and season with pepper.  Whisk in the butter.  Set aside.

3. Peel the shallots and separate them where their natural divisions occur.  If using pearl onions, parboil for 1 minute, then drain and peel, keeping the root end intact.

4. Peel the parsnips and trim off the skinny tips.  Cut the remaining vegetable into 3 segments of equal length.  Quarter the thickest section and remove a portion of the core.  Halve the middle section and keep the last section whole (use the tips and cores in the sauce as directed)

5. Peel the carrots and cut them into 2 to 3 inch lengths.  If they're tapered, cut the thick ends into quarters, the middles into halves, and keep the last skinny pieces whole.  If they're the same diameter from tip to tail, simply halve them lenthwise.  Thickly slice the mushrooms.

6. Heat the oil and butter in a wide skillet or Dutch oven.  Add the carrots and shallots and cook over medium high heat, turning occasionally, until well browned in places, about 10 minutes.  Add the parsnips and mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes.  Season with 1 tsp salt, then add herbs.  Pour in 1 cup of the sauce and 1 cup water, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender when pierced, 20 to 25 minutes. (add more water if needed-there should be some moisture in the pan).  Season with pepper and set aside until needed.

7. Cover the lentils with 3 cups water, add the salt and simmer until tender, about 25 minutes.  Drain, then stir in the butter and 1 cup of the sauce.


Prepare the puree.  Reheat the vegetables with the remaining sauce.  Mound the puree in the center of 6 pasta plate.  Place 2 or 3 spoonfuls of lentils around the potatoes, then fill in with the vegetables.  Spoon the extra sauce around and over the vegetables and lentil then garnish with the chopped parsley and serve.


From Local Flavors by Deborah Madison


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