April 2024

French Lentil + Mushroom Ragout Over Baked Sweet Potatoes

serves 2 to 4


4 cups Vegetable Broth or water
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 cup French lentils (or brown, if unavailable)
1 tbsp avocado oil or ghee
1 small white or yellow onion,  finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
8 to 12 shiitake or cremini mushrooms, stemmed, caps thinly sliced
leaves from 1 fresh thyme sprig
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp tamari
1 tbsp arrowroot powder or tapioca starch
chopped fresh chives or tarragon leaves
2 Whole Roasted Sweet Potatoes, halved

For the Vegetable Broth (makes about 2.5 quarts)

3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
2 large carrots, roughly chopped
1 medium onion, quartered
1 bunch scallions, green and white parts roughly chopped
1 head of garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 dried bay leaves
several bushy sprigs of fresh parsley or thyme
up to 4 cups vegetable trimmings (such as squash skins, leek trimmings,mushroom stems, fennel or cabbage cores, parsnip peels, kale stems)
fine sea salt
avocado oil or avocado oil spray


Make the vegetable stock. if using. In a stockpot or Dutch oven, combine all the ingredients except the salt and add enough filtered water to submerge the vegetables, with plenty of them to float around---about three quarts. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower the heat and partially cover the pot with a lid. Simmer for ninety minutes to two hours, checking periodically and skimming off any foam that collects on the surface, until the broth is rich and rounded with vegetable flavor. Uncover and let cool. (Alternatively, combine all the ingredients except the salt in a slow cooker. Add ten cups of water, or enough to almost reach the maximum fill line. Set on low heat and cook for eight hours.) Carefully strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. Gently press on the solids to extract a bit more broth, compost the solids. Taste the broth and add salt to taste. The broth will keep for four to five days in the refrigerator, or up to two months in the freezer. Note: Fennel scraps add an especially distinct taste. Other interesting additions include onion peels, trimmings from green beans or asparagus, stem ends of zucchini, or chard stems, Make the sweet potatoes. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Prick the sweet potatoes a few times with a fork, lightly coat with avocado oil, and sprinkle with salt. Place the potatoes in the sheet pan and bake until they're fully cooked and a fork easily slips into the center meeting no resistance, forty-five to fifty-five minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for a few minutes before slicing in half lengthwise. In a medium saucepan, bring three cups of the broth to a boil over medium-heat heat. Add the salt. Stir in the lentils, return to a boil, and reduce the heat to low and simmer until just tender, about twenty minutes. Drain, if needed, and place the lentils in a bowl. (If you like a creamier texture, puree half the lentils and combine with the remaining lentils.) Wipe out the saucepan. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and onion and sauté, stirring constantly, until starting to soften, about two minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for one more minute. Add the mushrooms and thyme leaves and cook until slightly browned and tender, about three minutes, stirring occasionally, Add one more cup of broth to the saucepan along with the mustard and tamari, bring to a boil. Add the cooked lentils, stir well, reduce the heat to medium, and return to a low simmer. In a small bowl, mix the arrowroot with the remaining half cup of broth. Stir the arrowroot slurry into the lentils, bring back to a simmer, and gently cook until slightly thickened, two to three minutes. Add the fresh herbs. Serve over the sweet potato halves.

Lentil sweet potato story   rain recipe box16x9