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Richly Braised Lentils

Deeply flavoured slow braised puy lentils that can eaten on their own or added to other dishes.

Pot of braised lentils

These slow braised lentils were a real revelation. 

I usually use lentils to bulk out a dish, like a shepherd's pie or for a creamy finish in a tasty dal or a warming lentil soup when I use red lentils. This dish was so different. The lentils were the main dish. The star of the show.

Excuse my language but they were bloody delicious!

I served them with mash and peas, because with a rich, tasty gravy like that you need either mash or crusty bread to mop it up.

I urge you to print of this recipe, save it on Pinterest and share it with all your friends. It's that good!

 pin it for later

Richly Braised Lentils - slow braised lentils cooked with tomatoes, red wine and bay leaves. The best lentils you will ever taste. The perfect stew for a family casserole. #braisedlentils #lentils #slowcookedlentils #bestlentilrecipes #bestlentils #frenchlentils #puylentils #veganstews #vegancasserole #veganlentilrecipe

Alex Mackay

cover of Everybody Everyday by Alex Mackay

This recipe comes from Everybody Everyday by Alex Mackay.

Alex MackayI'd not heard of Alex Mackay before this cookbook landed on my doorstep.

Alex worked in kitchens when he left school at 16, but his career in food really started 15 years ago when Raymond Blanc asked him to run his cookery school, Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons.

He is regularly on TV and spent a decade cooking at Norwich City Football Club with Delia Smith and will take over after her retirement this year.

This is his second cookbook. His first cookbook was called Cooking in Provence.

A New Cookbook Concept

With this cookbook he brings us something different. The concept for this book is knowing a few ingredients really well, making a dish with them and then adapting this into different recipes. There are six basic ingredients, six sauces and six slow-cooked meals and then all the variations of each.

126 recipes in total.

The recipe I decided to make was one of the basic ingredients, braised lentils. I doubled up the recipe and served my braised lentils with mashed potatoes and peas for a really comforting meal, but I could have used the lentils in the 6 following recipes:

  1. Stuffed Mushrooms in Puff Pastry, Creamy Porcini & Lentils
  2. Lentil Chilli with Roast Squash & Sweet & Sour Marmalade
  3. Lentil Moussaka
  4. Mackay's Lentil Pie
  5. Pasta & Vegetables with Lentil Bolognaise
  6. Lentil Fritters with Roast Beetroot & Hot Camembert Cream

inside cookbook Everybody Everyday by Alex Mackay

Alex has included a slideshow on his website showing each of these dishes and giving tips for cooking them with children, which I think is a nice touch.

I'm excited to try the Stuffed Mushrooms in Puff Pastry, Creamy Porcini & Lentils.

What an exciting meal that will be. I loved the braised lentils, but pairing them with the mushrooms in puff pastry, oh my!

I really do like the concept for this book. It is such a sensible idea, to have a few great recipes under your belt and then add them to other dishes, to make whole new dishes.

A great idea for new cooks and a great reminder to the rest of us to do more with our favourite recipes.

inside Everybody Everyday by Alex Mackay

Everybody Everyday by Alex Mackay

Everybody Everyday  by Alex Mackay

Vegetarian Recipe Count 28 out of 126 recipes  
Vegan Recipe Count 13 out of 126 recipes (leaving out the suggested addition of yoghurt or cheese)

Format: Hardback
Pages:  352
Publisher:  Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN:  978-1408810934
Published:  10 May 2012
Size:  18.9 x 2.8 x 24.6 cm

reader's photo of braised lentils

lentils, braised lentils, slow cooked lentils, oven cooked lentils, lentil stew, french lentils, french lentil stew, lentil casserole, puy lentils, vegan stew, vegan casserole
British, vegan
Yield: 4
Author: Jacqueline Meldrum with kind permission

Pot of Richly Braised Lentils

Richly Braised Lentils

Slow braised lentils, cooked with tomatoes, wine and bay leaves for the most luxurious, rich gravy that explodes with flavour.
prep time: 10 Mcook time: 1 H & 40 Mtotal time: 1 H & 50 M


  • 2 medium onions, peeled and cut into 5mm dice
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 700ml plus 2 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • 375ml gutsy red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 250g puy or French lentils
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a good grinding of salt and pepper
  • a generous pinch of sugar


How to cook Richly Braised Lentils

  1. Preheat your oven to 170c/150c fan/325f/gas mark 3.
  2. In a large ovenproof pan, saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil and 2 tbsp of water. Cook on medium with the lid on for 7-10 minutes until the onions are soft. Add a little more water if it starts to dry out.
  3. Add the tomato puree and turn the heat up to high.  Cook the mixture, stirring it constantly, for 2 minutes until the tomato puree is lightly browned. When it smells like sun-dried tomatoes, it's ready.
  4. Add the red wine and lentils. Bring to the boil and cook gently until the wine has reduced by half. 
  5. Add the tinned tomatoes, the bay leaves and the 700ml of water, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Cover the pan and put it in the oven and braise the lentils for 30 minutes. Take off the lid and cook for another 30 minutes until the lentils are tender but still holding their shape. Stir it a couple of times during cooking.
  7. When the lentils are cooked, the liquid should be thick and just at the level of the lentils, if not cook for a little longer.
  8. Season to taste with salt, sugar and pepper. 
  9. Cover the pan and leave to sit for another 10 minutes to let the lentils to soak up the seasonings.
  10. Enjoy!


Make sure you use a large ovenproof dish for this with a lid.
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Created using The Recipes Generator


Extra Veg Vegan Shepherd's Pie

Extra Veg Vegan Shepherd's Pie

A comforting vegan version of shepherd's pie with extra vegetables. This is a traditional British dish of savoury mince and vegetables in rich gravy, topped with creamy mashed potatoes, then baked until crisp and golden.


  1. Ooh, this sounds hearty and delicious, just what we need now the weather is getting chillier! Interesting that sugar is added to the seasoning at the end, will definitely be making this soon as we are all lentil fans in this household:-)

    1. We loved it Camilla, it has a lovely thick sauce and tastes so rich.

  2. Lovely! Can't wait to try these when I get back home. I wish I could find more recipes for red lentils though, as I have a massive 1kg bag of them at home!

    1. Cook a red lentil , coconut and pineapple curry . Yum yum . I will look out the recipe in the morning for you

  3. This sounds delicious and I am on my way to the shop for some wine now! X

  4. You're right this sounds like such a great idea for a cookery book! Let's hope my public library's got one! And great lentil stew!

    1. I will cross my fingers for you. If they don't, ask if they can order one for you. Most libraries will do this for a very small charge.

  5. This looks gooorgeous! So rich and hearty for autumn, I'll have to try this one :)

  6. Those lentils look great. I have a copy of the book as well, but didn't really take to the concept of it. I'll try those lentils though!

  7. I spotted this book and it looked quite appealing but haven't bought it yet, though your photo looks fabulous - it's like I can see the flavours jumping out of that sauce! I grew up in Norfolk so always support the locals!

    1. I am glad the photo does all that. What more could I ask :)

  8. Sounds like an excellent concept, will look out for this book.

    1. As if you need another Janice. You are like me, the cookbooks are taking over the house.

  9. Love the conceptual idea of this book (not the lentils though)!

    1. Awww that's a shame Tandy. They are so economical & good for you.

  10. I like the book concept! I love this basic braised lentils, I often cook lentils but never in the oven! The Stuffed Mushrooms in Puff Pastry, Creamy Porcini and Lentils must be delicious!!!

    1. The stuffed mushrooms do sound amazing. I will have to make some more lentils soon, so I can make them.

  11. This looks heavenly and just the perfect dish for this colder weather. Love dishes which you can put in the oven to cook away whilst catching up with other things like visiting great food blogs like yours!

    1. It is definitely the perfect dish for this soggy weather.

  12. I have to admit that I hadn't heard of Alex till your post. But these lentils look delish and just the perfect antidote to this awful weatehr we are suffering. Warms me up just thinking about it.

    1. The weather is truly rotten and I think the only thing good about it is hearty dishes.

  13. That sounds like a great book and I love the photos of your dish. Delicious.

  14. I like the idea for this book too as I would love to be one of those people who can just rustle dishes up using whatever's to hand and this would be a good start. Will definitely try this lentil recipe - as you know - I have a slight obsession with getting fibre into the kids so always on the lookout for good recipes full of pulses.

  15. I reserved this cookbook at my library right after I read your post - the idea of braised lentils sounded fantastic. Just went in the oven five minutes ago! :o) Did you make any of the accompanying recipes?

    (rarely comment, but been following your blog for a few years it!)

  16. I even love the name of the recipe "richly braised lentils." I am a huge fan of lentils in general but this seems so warm and comforting. I am quite excited to make these. And to read the cook book.

    Erin -

  17. Oooh. New Lentil recipe. I usually prefer red ones but I am coming around to the other varieties. Looks very yummy and anything that involves a strong red wine and mash potatoes is a winner for me.

  18. Wow absolutely loved this, made it in the slow cooker. Easy to make, will definitely be making this again, I added finely chopped mushrooms and celery to bilk it out and served with crispy roast potatoes : )

    1. Oh nice idea and mushrooms are always a good plan! And the roasties mmmmm!


I love reading comments, so thank you for taking the time to leave one. Unfortunately, I'm bombarded with spam, so I've turned on comment moderation. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can and respond to them. Don't panic, they will disappear when you hit publish. Jac x