Oh how I love poached eggs! Firm white outside…thick, silky yolk on the inside… Nothing can really compare to breaking into the egg. The bright yellow yolk gently runs out, creating a rich “sauce” for whatever lies underneath. While I usually eat poached eggs for lunch each day on top of thick toast that’s spread with avocado, I also like to incorporate them into my dinners. And tonight I’m eating them over a hearty bowl of lentils.
I started eating lentils on a regular basis a few years ago when I discovered just how healthy they are for you. One of the main reasons is FIBER. Lentils are full of cholesterol-lowering fiber that fills you up and gives you a ton of energy. These dried beans are part of the legume family which includes many other healthy beans and peas. Simple to make, they soak up all of the flavor you cook them with, which contributes to their naturally subtle nuttiness. For this dish, I simmer the lentils with garlic and a bay leaf. The lentils are tossed with garlicky red chard to create an earthy dish that wouldn’t be complete without some simple garnishes.
Back to the poached eggs. I cook a couple of eggs per person and gently slide them on top of the lentils. Do not forget to season them! A sprinkle of salt and pepper will make all the difference. A special touch is a drizzle of spicy chili oil (which I also use to cook the greens). I infuse olive oil with crushed red pepper and let it sit overnight to strengthen the flavor. Unless you cut the recipe down, you won’t use all of the chili oil for this dish, but I like to seal it and save it for other uses. And finally, a squeeze of lemon and fresh dill brighten everything up and contrast the rich, stewed lentils. Enjoy!
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 cup green lentils, rinsed
- 2 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 garlic clove, smashed
- 2 tablespoons chili oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 oz red chard stems, finely diced
- 4 oz red chard greens, slightly torn apart
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- ¼ cup water
- 1-2 eggs per person
- 2 teaspoons white distilled vinegar
- salt and pepper
- fresh dill
- chili oil
- In a small pan, combine the olive oil and crushed red pepper flakes. On medium-low, heat the oil for about 5 minutes, until the pepper has infused the oil. Remove from the heat and let cool until room temperature. Seal and refrigerate overnight before using. (Any leftover oil can be kept in the fridge for up to a month.)
- In a small saucepan, combine the lentils, water, bay leaf, and crushed garlic clove over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes. Make sure the lentils are covered with water at all times (add more water if needed). Drain the lentils. In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the chili oil over medium-high heat. Add the minced garlic and let cook for a minute until just slightly starting to brown (watch that it doesn’t burn). Add the red chard stems to the pan and sauté for 3-4 minutes, just until softened slightly. Toss in the greens, white wine vinegar, and water. Let the liquid reduce and the greens wilt. Add the lentils to the pan, just long enough to warm through.
- Meanwhile, poach the eggs. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and a pinch of salt added to it. Crack each egg into a small bowl. When the water is just simmering, slowly pour the eggs into the water. Do not overcrowd the pot. Turn off the heat and cover the pot. Set a timer for 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs and serve immediately. Season the eggs with salt and pepper.
- Serve the stewed lentils in a large bowl and give them a good squeeze of lemon. Top the lentils with 1 or 2 poached eggs. Garnish the dish with fresh dill, a slice of lemon, and a drizzle of chili oil.