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International Selections Artisan Recipe - Bonus Recipe

Country French in its inspiration, this hearty, filling meatless dish is a characteristic winter supper in Ontario’s Francophone neighbor, Québec. It also makes a delicious match with either your Konzelmann Winery Pinot Noir or Pinot Blanc. (Recipe courtesy of Robin Garr, wineloverspage.com)

 Braised Green Lentils and Fennel
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Braised Green Lentils and Fennel

Ingredients:

• 2/3 cup dried green  lentils
• 2-3 large cloves garlic
• 2 1/3 cup water or vegetable stock, divided
• salt
• 1 bulb fresh fennel
• 1 small sweet onion
• 1 large carrot
• 2 Tbsp ripe, fruity olive oil
• 1 or 2 Bay leaves
• freshly ground black pepper


Preparation:
First, prepare the lentils. Rinse them thoroughly and pick them over to make sure there aren’t any tiny stones or other detritus. Put the lentils, 1 smashed garlic clove and 1 1/3 cups water in a small saucepan. Do not add salt until after the lentils are cooked. I find they cook to a better texture this way. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then turn to very low, just a bare simmer with a few bubbles popping the surface, and cook, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes or so, stirring occasionally until the lentils are just tender and the water is mostly absorbed.

While the lentils are cooking, prep the veggies. Remove the fronds and the hard core from the lentil bulb, and slice the bulb vertically into paper-thin slices.  Chop the onion; peel the carrot and cut it into 1/4-inch dice. Mince the rest of the garlic.

Put the olive oil in a heavy skillet or pot - a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet is ideal - over medium-high heat. Cook the onions and carrot until the onions are translucent; then add the garlic and finally the  sliced fennel,  and stir until the fennel cooks down a bit.

Add the Bay leaves and 1 cup water or vegetable stock and simmer gently while the lentils finish cooking. Only use enough of the liquid to moisten the ingredients; you don’t want a soupy dish. Remove the garlic clove from the lentils and season them with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the lentils into the vegetables, stir gently, and simmer for a few more moments until the flavors blend. Discard the Bay leaves, check seasoning and serve.

Pair this recipe with this month's International Selections featuring:
• Konzelmann Estate Winery 2010 Pinot Noir
• Konzelmann Estate Winery 2011 Pinot Blanc

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