Instant Pot French Lentil Soup

Instant Pot French Lentil Soup

Cozy.

  • Noun: giving a feeling of comfort, warmth, and relaxation.

  • Adjective: a soft covering to keep a teapot, boiled egg, etc., hot.

  • Verb: give (someone) a feeling of comfort or complacency.

The dictionary definition might as well include French Lentil Soup, too. It fits right in there between "giving a feeling a comfort” and “keeping warm.”

Red lentils are a regular in our house (dal, or this stew) but I was feeling explorative and grabbed French lentils at the store one day. It was a very, very good impulsive decision.

In addition to French lentils, bay leaves, white wine, and fresh thyme go into the pot. What comes out is this steaming hot, broth-y stew that boasts every flavor a “French” soup should. It’s amazing what a splash of wine can do!

Lentils are not the first thing I think of when I imagine French food (maybe brie, or baguettes, or wine) but lentils are a huge part of French culture. Even though lentils originated in the Middle East, Le Puy Lentils (French Lentils) are specific to France and have the same Protected Designation of Origin as Champagne — to be called lentilles du Puy, they must be grown in Puy.

Instant Pot French Lentil Soup
Instant Pot French Lentil Soup

The classic French preparation of lentils is with Dijon Mustard and Red wine vinegar, though on a cold day — ehem, virtually every day from mid-October to March, here - the lentil soup is the most satisfying, warming thing you could lay your eyes on.

This recipe is also plant-based, making it perfect for #MeatlessMonday or your everyday, if that’s your thing. But the flavor is so rich and the lentils so satisfying, that no one at your table will miss a thing. (Psst…. if they do, it is common in some countries to serve sliced sausage over lentils).

One more thing! This whole recipe comes together in your Instant Pot. 12 minutes pressurized, a sprinkle of parsley, a glass of Pinot Grigio, and you have your self a very pretty little meal. Weeknights? Conquered. Lazy Sunday evenings? Done and done.

Instant Pot French Lentil Soup

Instant Pot French Lentil Soup

Published December 6, 2018 by
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Serves: 8   |    Active Time: 20 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 2 cups french lentils, rinsed (also called Le Puy or French Green Lentils)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Splash white wine (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6-1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper 
  • Leaves from 3 sprigs of thyme
  • Salt to taste
  • Garnish: minced parsley

  • Directions:

    1. Heat coconut oil in the bottom of an Instant Pot on the sauté setting. Add onion, garlic, and celery, and sauté, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until onions are translucent and starting to brown. Add the splash of wine and stir.
    2. Add carrots, canned tomatoes, lentils, bay leaves, vegetable broth, black pepper, and thyme, and stir.
    3. Place lid on Instant Pot and turn to “Bean/Chili” setting with timer set to 12 minutes and vent in the sealed position.
    4. When timer goes off, release the pressure. Stir soup and season with salt to taste. Serve topped with minced parsley.
    5. Tip: For extra veggies in your meal, place a handful of baby kale or spinach in the bottom of your bowl when serving, and spoon the hot lentils over top.

    Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole

    Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole
    Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole

    I grew up on the sort of sweet potato casserole that is topped with marshmallows, and I love the stuff.

    One Thanksgiving in California is vividly stamped in my mind — the year we visited my grandparents and I realized for the first time that my grandma cooked almost every dish for Thanksgiving dinner in the microwave. IN THE MICROWAVE! Coming from rather culinary parents, it was a bit of a shock, and I’m not sure why I hadn’t noticed in previous years (I don’t even remember other Thanksgiving dinners at their house; maybe this was a first).

    Anyways… this sweet potato casserole is not made in the microwave (do I even need to say that?) and so it’s off to a far superior start already! But it’s also been revised in other ways, calling for less sugar and being topped with crumbly, crispy pecans and oats instead of marshmallows. Because, sugar and marshmallows just don’t leave me feeling my best.

    Sweet potatoes are quite sweet as they are, so adding sugar to the filling feels unnecessary (most recipes call for 1/4 to 1/2 cup of added sugar). In this version the filling is “natural,” meaning all the sweetness comes from the sweet potatoes, and the topping is made with maple syrup and cinnamon (which has sweet notes of it’s own!).

    As Oliver would say, this dish comes out of the oven “smelling sweeter than a plate of yams with extra syrup.”

    Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole
    Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole

    Tip: Cook the sweet potatoes ahead of time! You can cook the potatoes up to three days before you’re going to make this casserole. Here are a couple of ways to cook them (affiliate links ahead!):

    • In an Instant Pot: Place whole sweet potatoes in your Instant Pot with 1 cup of water (use a steamer basket if you have one). Use manual mode and set to high for 15 minutes (vent in sealed position). Allow pressure to release naturally, then open pot. Allow potatoes to cool, and then remove skins, which should easily pull off at this point.

    • In an oven: Preheat oven to 425°F. Prick sweet potatoes with a fork and rub with oil (such as coconut oil). Place potatoes on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or a sil-pat and bake for 45 minutes.

    In both of these methods, the natural sugars in the sweet potatoes will caramelize so that your sweet potato casserole tastes sweet without the added sugar.

    Thanksgiving is THIS WEEK. What else are you making? What’s your favorite thing once you sit down at the table?

    Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole

    Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole

    Published November 20, 2018 by
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    Serves: 4   |    Active Time: 4 hours



    Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cups mashed sweet potato
  • 1/4 cup half and half or canned coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter or coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • For Crumble Topping:
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 heaping cup rolled oats
  • 1 heaping cup pecan halves

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
    2. Combine the first five ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir until well incorporated.
    3. Spread sweet potato mixture in an even layer in a 9x9 baking dish.
    4. In a separate bowl, combine ingredients for crumble topping. Spread crumble topping in an even layer over the sweet potatoes.
    5. Place baking dish in the middle rack of the oven and bake 25-30 minutes. Sweet potatoes should be warmed through and pecans on top should be lightly toasted. Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.

    Cranberry-Pinot Noir Chicken Roast

    Cranberry-Pinot Noir Chicken Roast

    This recipe for roasted chicken in a Cranberry-Pinot Noir Sauce is fit for a dinner party, but only takes four steps to make …and one of those steps is preheating the oven. 🙌

    Coq au vin (chicken stewed in wine sauce) is usually made on the stove stop or in a dutch oven, and while it’s not an overly complicated dish, making it on a sheet pan is way easier. Which, sometimes you just need.

    So, while you’re off doing whatever else you need to do — making a side salad, getting house chores done, watching Netflix - the combination of onions, garlic, and wine simmers away in your oven. And that combo, if you are not already familiar with it, is magical. The is alcohol in wine actually helps make the dish feel more flavorful, even though it burns off. As the sauce simmers in the oven, all those flavors become more concentrated.

    The chicken thighs soak up all those juices, and the potatoes get crispy edges. And finally, when you pull the pan out of the oven 30 minutes later, that wine has become herbaceous and if you can imagine it, almost creamy. And the chicken juicy and tender.

    Cranberry-Pinot Noir Chicken Roast
    Cranberry-Pinot Noir Chicken Roast

    There is something about roasting chicken with potatoes that feels fit for cold weather days. We just had our first real snow — snow that actually stuck to the ground. Isn’t funny how after 27 years of Colorado winters snow still gives me this giddy, “It’s snowing!” feeling?

    For me, what’s missing in classic wintertime dishes is a splash of brightness — you know what I mean, a pop of fresh. Herbs can totally help, but in this case cranberries are the star, adding spots of tart and fresh flavor. And add so much beauty, too! Even after being roasted, the cranberries add some beauty to this pan.

    We ate this along side some roasted brussels sprouts (why not take advantage of having the oven on?), but a side salad or steamed veggies would be great, too! Traditional coq au vin is served over pasta, but this is far from traditional, so don’t feel bad about breaking any rules.

    Cranberry-Pinot Noir Chicken Roast

    Cranberry-Pinot Noir Chicken Roast

    Published November 13, 2018 by
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    Serves: 4   |    Active Time: 50 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 yellow onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 cup baby red potatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup fresh or dried cranberries (Fresh will add a touch of bright tartness, while dried will add a bit of sweetness. Both work well in the dish!)
  • 1/2 cup Pinot Noir
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 springs thyme, plus more for garnish
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
    2. Arrange chicken thighs, onion wedges, quartered potatoes, and cranberries in a single layer in the dish.
    3. In a jar, combine remaining 9 ingredients. Place lid on jar, and shake briefly to mix. Then, pour wine mixture over chicken and potatoes.
    4. Place pan in middle rack in oven and bake 30-35 minutes, until the middle of the chicken thighs reach 165°F. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, remove bay leaves and then garnish with additional thyme and serve hot.