Here is another recipe from my tests of the Kuhn Rikon Family Style 12 quart pressure cooker.
Beans and rice are one of the few vegetarian combinations that fill me up. Most vegetarian meals leave me thinking "that tasted great - where's the rest of dinner?" I don't have that reaction when the meal has beans; they're hearty enough to fill me up. But, beans and rice every week gets boring. I'm always looking for new versions I can try.
That's why I bought a pound of French lentils du Puy when I saw it at my local health foods market. I wanted to try a French-style lentil stew with a leek mirepoix, and I have the new Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker to test, et voila. I love it when a plan comes together.
The pressure cooker gives me a noticeably faster cooking time, even with the natural pressure release that I like to use with beans. The lentils are done pressure cooking in about 20 minutes, instead of the 35 to 45 minutes of simmering that they usually take. That extra fifteen minutes can be the difference between my getting dinner on the table on a busy weeknight, and succumbing to the temptation of fast food.
*Darn you, Swensons! Why do your french fries have to taste so good?
And the results? Creamy lentils in a savory broth, done in 30 minutes end to end; the pressure cooker worked its magic once again.
This is a simple dried bean recipe, so the ingredients list is pretty basic
- French Green Lentils (Lentils du Puy)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Herbes de Provence
See recipe card for quantities.
Regular lentils: If you can't find French green lentils, use regular (brown) lentils.
Leek: If cleaning leeks is too annoying, use a regular onion, or three green onions.
Herbes de Provence: I keep a jar of herbes de provence on my countertop, but any salt-free herb blend can replace it, or just use dried thyme.
Vegan version: replace the butter with more olive oil.
Non-Vegetarian: For an authentic French version of the recipe, substitute chicken stock for about half the water. (Preferably homemade chicken stock.)
A 6-quart pressure cooker. Pressure cooker dried beans are one of the reasons I became a pressure cooker convert, and love my Instant Pot. Try them - you’ll never go back to canned beans. (OK, maybe you will, for convenience - but see the Storage section for tips on make ahead freezer beans.)
I originally made this recipe in a giant Kuhn Rikon 12-quart pressure cooker, which is overkill, size-wise - but it worked. I've converted to electric pressure cookers now, and my 6-quart Instant Pot is the right size for this recipe.
This recipe scales down easily - cut everything in half if you don’t need as many beans, or have a 3-quart pressure cooker. Scaling up runs into space issues; if you have an 8-quart pressure cooker, you can double this recipe, but it’s too much to fit in a 6-quart pressure cooker.
🤨 Soaking lentils?
I get the “to soak, or not to soak?” question all the the time. Don't soak lentils. They cook too quickly - if you soak them, they fall apart when pressure cooked.
💡Tips and Tricks
- Salt your lentil water! “Salt toughens beans” is a myth. Salting before cooking helps season the beans all the way through as they cook.
- Try to buy lentils from a store with lots of bean turnover. Beans dry out as they age, which makes them a little tougher to cook.
- Simmer to thicken: If you have the time, and want thicker bean liquid, simmer the beans for 10 minutes after pressure cooking. I set my Instant Pot to Sauté mode adjusted to low, set the timer to 10 minutes, and leave the lid off to let the broth evaporate.
Pressure Cooker French Green Lentils (Lentils du Puy)
- 1 pound French green lentils (lentils du Puy)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 leek, cleaned, green parts removed, and sliced thin (or a medium onion)
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- ½ celery rib, diced
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons herbes de Provence (or dried thyme)
- 6 cups water
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt (plus more to taste)
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Rinse the lentils: Put the lentils du Puy in a strainer, and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Let stand to drain while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
- Saute the aromatics and toast the spices: Heat the oil and butter in the pressure cooker pot over medium heat until the butter stops foaming (Sauté mode in an electric pressure cooker). Add the leeks, carrots, celery, and garlic, then sprinkle with ½ teaspoon fine sea salt and the herbes de Provence. Sauté until the leeks soften and turn translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Pressure Cook the lentils for 10 minutes with a Natural Release: Stir in the lentils, 6 cups of water, and 1 teaspoon fine sea salt. Scrape the bottom of the pot with a flat-edged wooden spoon to loosen any bits of onion that stuck to the pot. Lock the pressure cooker lid. Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes in an electric pressure cooker or for 8 minutes in a stovetop pressure cooker. Once the cooking time is done, let the pressure come down with a natural release, about 20 minutes more. (if you are in a hurry, quick release any remaining pressure after 15 minutes.)
- Taste for seasoning and serve: Open the pressure cooker lid (away from you - the steam is hot). Stir in the pepper, then taste for seasoning - the lentils will need more salt. Add the salt, tasting as you go, until the flavor goes from washed out to full-bodied. (I usually add another teaspoon of fine sea salt.) Serve and enjoy!
Lentils du Puy were the first vegetables to be certified with the French Controlled Designation of Origin (AOC) status. This means they must be grown in Le Puy-en-Velay to be called lentils du Puy. If you're a wine nut like I am, you know of AOCs from their definition of the major wine regions of France - Bordeaux, Burgundy, Cote du Rhone, and so on. I was amazed that lentils were the first vegetable to be protected by an AOC. (I learned this from Alton Brown's Pantry Raid 6: Lentils show. Actually...a lot of what I know about cooking is from Alton Brown.)
So, if you find French green lentils, they are the same lentil - but they weren't grown in Le Puy-en-Velay.
This recipe makes fantastic leftovers. I freeze it in 2 cup containers, and I have grab-and-go lunch that takes five minutes in the microwave to be ready.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 50
- Category: Weeknight Dinner
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: French
Keywords: Pressure Cooker French Green Lentils (Lentils du Puy), Instant Pot French Green Lentils (Lentils du Puy)
A 2-cup container of beans, with cooking liquid, replaces a 15-ounce can of beans from the grocery store. They’ll last in the refrigerator for a few days, and freeze for up to 6 months. I always make extra beans, and freeze the leftovers for use in other recipes. Freezer beans are ready to use with about 5 minutes in the microwave, and are so much better than canned.
🤝 Related Posts
- Pressure Cooker Umbrian Lentils and Sausage
- Pressure Cooker Beans (basic technique)
- Lentil Stew, Dal Style (non-pressure cooker variation)
- My other pressure cooker recipes
Mark Bittman Soupy Dal, American Style [nytimes.com]
Lorna Sass Pressure Perfect
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