Friday, September 12, 2014

French Lentils & Baby Bok Choy, Sugar Snaps and Garlic en Papillote

But the lentils are not in that "papillote".  We have a lentil recipe and a 
make up recipe this week ~ 

French Lentils
Per Nana~
This week's selection is a basic recipe for cooking  french lentils.  
I didn't find the green lentils so I used regular lentils, and with the 
exception of Cognac, everything else is in there. I prefer to chop the 
vegetables into small pieces as in a mirapoix.  I cooked the veggies a little 
bit and then added the lentils and the chicken broth.  I also added a bit 
of diced up ham to the pot.  For serving, a drizzle of extra virgin olive
 oil was used, and a dash of red pepper flakes.  The only thing missing 
was a loaf of french bread. This is one of our favorites and
 Hubby and I enjoyed it on a pleasant cool September day.
Per Tricia~
I did a side by side of two green lentils found locally, neither of which was
 the famed "du puy". The first were green lentils from Wegmans, which I
 had originally thought came close to fitting the bill (granted I realized 
they were likely not imported from France....) but when I showed them
 to Nana she responded that she didn't think they looked like the real McCoy. 
 I had come across some "organic French Lentils" in one of our local whole 
food markets but again I figured they would simply be a nice substitute. 
They were much smaller and darker than the others so I was intrigued.  
The verdict ? 
organic french on left, Wegmans on right
The lighter shade had a lovely aroma when cooking but became bland. 
All taste testers (Hubby, younger son and myself) agreed the smaller 
darker lentils were far superior and tastier, with a better texture. 
The others were more bland and mealy.  Ah yes, and Dorie's actual recipe. 
This basic lentil prep was of course delicious and she provided a few great 
suggestions for fill in. The actual prep I will be looking to streamline in
 the future and likely cook the additional veggies already chopped, rather 
than cooking them down and then chopping them after fishing them out 
of the draining lentils. I will also likely not pre-boil my lentils as I had 
nothing to skim off when doing so and would like to keep this easy recipe
 as easy as possible. I will be back at that market SOON for more of 
those green lentils and look forward to adding ham or bacon next time.

Baby Bok Choy, Sugar Snaps and Garlic en Papillote

Per Nana~
I am adding a make up selection this week, another "papillote", 
this time with baby bok choy, sugar snaps and garlic. 
Bok choy and sugar snaps were totally new vegetables to me. 
 I have eaten them in Chinese food but never purchased them for cooking. 
I actually had to research how to prepare both and found it quite interesting. 
I couldn't find baby bok choy so I bought one regular stalk and used the inner 
section whichlooked so tender.  I used the rest of the vegetable for a stir fry. 
The fact that this can be prepared ahead of time is a treat for anyone on a busy 
schedule. This was a delicious new recipe for us, one that I will definitely make again.
Per Tricia~
I also knocked out the Baby Bok Choy & Garlic en Papillote recipe 
to keep our double posts (we have a lot of make ups to do) in synch.
 Coming off last week's use of this cooking method I was more than happy 
to use it again. I have not prepared the bok choy at home before but was 
struck by how beautiful and tender it was, and will be looking for more recipes. 
We enjoyed this one but unfortunately I think mine got a bit too cooked 
so I likely did a disservice to the gentle texture of the bok choy.
 I will be revisiting the en Papillote method but not with this filling. 

Happy French Friday ~


  1. I remember being in the same predicament as you, Nana. Never having worked with Bok Choy before, I had to google for some information. I've purchased sugar snaps before but always ate them raw - just love the crunch. We even used to grow them in our garden. I also hadn't done much with lentils since before joiningg FFWD. But, after several recipes, I do understand that a lentil is not a lentil is not a lentil, as I said. I wish that lentils came in specific colors - one for each shade, instead of all different shades of browns and greens as well as reds and oranges. It would make life so much easier. Whole Foods seems to have an overwhelming selection of lentils. Who buys all these different kinds? Who knows the difference? Glad you both are doing some catch-ups. Doesn't it seem that Life is just about catching-up and getting organized. That's what should be on my tombstone. "What she did best was catching-up. Never was she really organized."

  2. I hope you can find the real McCoy and try these Whole Foods carries them. I wasn't thrilled with the bok choy either...I undercooked so the peas wouldn't be mushy, but then, my bok choy was crunchy. The salmon was my favorite en papillote, by far! I have a few to catch up on...not sure that I'll make it! xo

  3. Tricia - those "French green" lentils look an aweful lot like Puy Lentils. I wonder if you managed to get them after all. Or at least something similar. Either way, they sound delicious.

    And I really enjoyed the bok choy recipe. If it were a bit easier to find around here I'd make it more often.

  4. Wow! I love it! I'm so hungry right now...

  5. I love that you both used the veges in your lentils - too delicious to throw out. Nana, I forgot all about the Cognac until I read your post - so I left out the Cognac by default. I agree with you both that the en papillote dishes are just delicious.

  6. Well ladies both of your dishes look wonderful! Tricia, Rose is right…I think the "French Green" are definitely the du Puy. They look just like mine. I bought them at Whole Foods, too, but mine came from the bulk bins. I’m glad you both enjoyed these fabulous recipes! I agree with you Nana, a good loaf of French bread would have been perfect! Happy Friday!

  7. It all looks tasty ladies! I couldn't find baby bok choy either so I used regular. It was another one of those easy but unique recipes. I used the same French lentils from Whole Foods. I wasn't sure if they were du Puy or not. Good whatever they are! Have a lovely weekend ladies!

  8. Tricia, the dark French lentils look like the ones I use, and they behaved the way that they should have (not getting mushy). I'm glad you both liked the lentils. I can't remember the bok choy, though both of your versions look good.

  9. Nana - your plate of French lentils looks absolutely wonderful, real comfort food at its best - love that drizzle of lovely olive oil on top and the addition of diced ham too! And your bok choy en papilotte looks wonderful and fresh as well - a very nice technique to use for cooking veg!
    Tricia - you certainly went out of your way with respect to finding those "right" lentils - the dark green ones did hold their shape beautifully in your dish - if I may mention this, only the lentils from "Puy" are, by law, allowed to be called "Puy lentils" as they fall under a "Protected Geographic Origin" label from the European that as it may, glad that you and your family all enjoyed your wonderful lentil dish - I must agree with you, it is easier adding diced veg than to dice them up later, once cooked. Your bay choy en papilotte looks fabulous too - makes me want to go out and get some more bok choy and make that dish again.
    Have a wonderful weekend, ladies!

  10. Nana: love the ham addition to your lentils and bok choy is odd. I was fortunate enough to live near Chinatown in NYC and got used to cooking it. Glad you enjoyed both.

    Tricia: You were so good cooking both lentils. I never seen tan French lentils but the others looked terrific. I would use the tan for soup or a dal if they get mushy... best for watery dishes. Glad your family enjoyed them.

  11. Ladies, so well done this week! I love these lentils. Thank you Andrea, for the explanation - so it's kind of like "sparkling French wine" vs. Champagne? At any rate, these lentils are wonderful. Both of yours look delicious. And your veggie make-ups both look good too. I'm impressed that you are actually catching up. I've decided to let that piece go, there are several (many) that I think would be great to make that I haven't actually gotten to.

  12. I loved both of these recipes. En Papillote is a great way to cook. Kuddos to you both for doing 2 recipes this week.

  13. Good catch up ladies! And I love that you used different lentils - I was thinking that I would love to make this recipe with all sorts of different lentils and see how they all stacked up!

  14. Tricia the organic ones look exactly like the ones I get at my food co-op. My understanding is that they are the same variety as du Puy - they just aren't grown in the region, so can't be labelled as such. I was out of them, so I used brown (which were okay, but not as good as the green.

    Nana, I think you're on the right track, cutting the vegetables up before cooking - and your addition of ham sounds heavenly!

    I enjoyed the bok choy en papillote, but it's still best in a stirfry, I think.

  15. Hmmmm, now I am wondering if you COULD cook lentils en papillote :-)
    The smaller green lentils are a far cry from some of the other types that are out there.
    Nice catch up :-)
    Have a nice week.