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Red Lentil and Fennel Ragout


Adapted from chef Cory Schreiber's Cooking from the Source in the Pacific Northwest (Ten Speed Press, 2000). This quick stew is excellent as a main course or as a side dish.

Wine recommendations: The stew texture is hearty and the flavors subtle, says Schreiber, which calls for either a red or white wine with medium body and more fruit than spice. Schreiber's choices are the 1999 vintages of Rex Hill Kings Ridge Pinot Noir, Cristom Mt. Jefferson Cuvée Pinot Noir, or Waterbrook Chardonnay.

American/New American
Number of Servings
Serves 4
4 ounces sliced bacon, cut into 1¼-inch strips
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 bulb fennel, trimmed, halved and thinly sliced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup dried red lentils, soaked in warm water
for 1 hour and drained
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon to paper towel to drain. Add carrots, fennel, onion and salt to bacon drippings in skillet and sauté for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in stock, thyme, pepper and lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, or until lentils are double their original size and absorb most of stock. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest, juice and bacon.
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