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Lentil Stew with Roasted Salmon Fillets

Lentil Stew with Roasted Salmon Fillets

A comforting lentil stew starts with a beautiful base of aromatics before it’s finished with a delicate roasted salmon fillet.

Years ago I made this dish frequently but for some reason I had all but forgotten about it. Until recently. We were out and about running errands and had stopped to grab a bite when I spotted lentil stew the menu. Sadly, it didn’t come close to matching my expectations. Lackluster flavors and oh, so few lentils in the lentil stew. So, I came home, combed through my recipes and set out to satisfy my taste buds. Like any great stew there are layers of tastes and textures. This one starts with sweet onions, leeks, carrots, celery, garlic and fresh thyme, creating a delicious foundation.

But unlike a beef stew, lentil stew requires only a short amount of your time and is on the table in less than an hour. And the flavors don’t miss a beat!

To get things moving along soak the lentils in hot water while you sauté the vegetables – this gives them a jumpstart in cooking.

Then simmer the soaked legumes along with the vegetables in a rich chicken stock, deepened with savory tomato paste and sprigs of fresh thyme.

And though you could stop here, why would you? Top the stew with fresh center cut salmon fillets, brushed with olive oil and seasoned simply with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. A quick sear before a short roast in the oven and dinner is ready.

Easy, flavorful and soul satisfying!

Lentil Stew with Roasted Salmon Fillets

1 cup green or brown dried lentils, about 1 cup

3 to 4 cups boiling water

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 tablespoons butter

1 large sweet onion, quartered and sliced thin, about 2-1/2 cups

2 cups sliced leeks, white and light green portion only, about 3 leeks*

1-1/2 cups celery, sliced thin, about 2 to 3 stalks

4 to 5 small carrots, trimmed, scrubbed and sliced thin, about 2 cups

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided – or to taste

1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, divided – or to taste

4 cups chicken stock

1 tablespoon concentrated chicken base

1 small can tomato paste, 6-ounces

5 to 6 sprigs of fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried

4 center cut salmon fillets, about 1-1/2 pounds

Heat the oven to 400-degrees. Place the lentils in a large heatproof bowl or measuring cup. Pour the boiling water over the lentils and let them stand for about 20 minutes. While the lentils soak, sauté the vegetables. In a large, deep sauté pan, melt the butter with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, the leeks, the celery and the carrots.

Sauté the vegetables until they are mostly tender and the onion and leeks are translucent, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the garlic, 1-1/2 teaspoons of the kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper and cook for another 3 minutes. Stir in the chicken stock, the chicken base, tomato paste, and the thyme sprigs.

Bring to the stew to a boil then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the pan and cook for about 30 minutes or until the lentils and vegetables are cooked through and tender. Check for seasoning, adding additional kosher salt and pepper if needed. Keep the stew warm over low heat while you cook the salmon.

While the lentils are cooking brush both sides of the salmon with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle the flesh side with ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Let the salmon rest at room temperature for about 10 to 15 minutes.

You can leave your salmon fillet whole or cut into individual servings.

Lightly spray a large ovenproof skillet with a cooking spray. Place the pan over medium-high heat. As soon as the pan is hot, place the salmon fillets flesh side down. Leave them in place without moving for 3 minutes.

Flip the fillets over and place in a 400-degree oven for 3 to 5 minutes or until the fish is cooked through and flaky. The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the salmon. Do not overcook or the salmon will be dry.

To serve, ladle the lentil stew in a wide soup bowl and gently place the salmon fillet on top.

To reheat any leftovers:

Warm the lentil stew over medium heat in a covered saucepan, adding extra chicken stock if needed. As soon as the stew is hot nestle the remaining salmon into the stew. Cover and warm for an additional 10 minutes until the fish is warmed through.

*Cleaning leeks is an important step. As the leaves push up through the ground they capture a lot of dirt along the way. To clean, trim the dark green leaves off, down to the light green part of the leek. Then cut an “X” about 3” to 4” from the leaves down towards the bulb.

Place the leeks cut side down in a large measuring cup or bowl filled with cold water. Let them soak for about 10 to 20 minutes to let the leeks open up a bit. Rinse the leeks under cold running water to make sure all the dirt is removed. Trim the root end of the bulb and you’re all set. You can clean the leeks ahead of time. After trimming and cleaning wrap the leeks in a paper towel and store them in a sealed bag or container.

Lentil Stew with Roasted Salmon Fillets

October 26, 2018
: Serves 4

A comforting lentil stew starts with a beautiful base of aromatics before it’s finished with a delicate roasted salmon fillet.

By:

Ingredients
  • 1 cup green or brown dried lentils, about 1 cup
  • 3 to 4 cups boiling water
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large sweet onion, quartered and sliced thin, about 2-1/2 cups
  • 2 cups sliced leeks, white and light green portion only, about 3 leeks*
  • 1-1/2 cups celery, sliced thin, about 2 to 3 stalks
  • 4 to 5 small carrots, trimmed, scrubbed and sliced thin, about 2 cups
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided – or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, divided – or to taste
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon concentrated chicken base
  • 1 small can tomato paste, 6-ounces
  • 5 to 6 sprigs of fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 4 center cut salmon fillets, about 1-1/2 pounds
Directions
  • Step 1 Heat the oven to 400-degrees.
  • Step 2 Place the lentils in a large heatproof bowl or measuring cup. Pour the boiling water over the lentils and let them stand for about 20 minutes. While the lentils soak, sauté the vegetables.
  • Step 3 In a large, deep sauté pan, melt the butter with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, the leeks, the celery and the carrots. Sauté the vegetables until they are mostly tender and the onion and leeks are translucent, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Step 4 Add the garlic, 1-1/2 teaspoons of the kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper and cook for another 3 minutes.
  • Step 5 Stir in the chicken stock, the chicken base, tomato paste, and the thyme sprigs.
  • Step 6 Bring to the stew to a boil then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the pan and cook for about 30 minutes or until the lentils and vegetables are cooked through and tender. Check for seasoning, adding additional kosher salt and pepper if needed. Keep the stew warm over low heat while you cook the salmon.
  • Step 7 While the lentils are cooking brush both sides of the salmon with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle the flesh side with ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Let the salmon rest at room temperature for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Step 8 Lightly spray a large ovenproof skillet with a cooking spray. Place the pan over medium-high heat. As soon as the pan is hot, place the salmon fillets flesh side down. Leave them in place without moving for 3 minutes.
  • Step 9 Flip the fillets over and place in a 400-degree oven for 3 to 5 minutes or until the fish is cooked through and flaky. The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the salmon. Do not overcook or the salmon will be dry.
  • Step 10 To serve, ladle the lentil stew in a wide soup bowl and gently place the salmon fillet on top.
  • Step 11 To reheat any leftovers:
  • Step 12 Warm the lentil stew over medium heat in a covered saucepan, adding extra chicken stock if needed. As soon as the stew is hot nestle the remaining salmon into the stew. Cover and warm for an additional 10 minutes until the fish is warmed through.
  • Step 13 *Cleaning leeks is an important step. As the leaves push up through the ground they capture a lot of dirt along the way. To clean, trim the dark green leaves off, down to the light green part of the leek. Then cut an “X” about 3” to 4” from the leaves down towards the bulb. Place the leeks cut side down in a large measuring cup or bowl filled with cold water. Let them soak for about 10 to 20 minutes to let the leeks open up a bit. Rinse the leeks under cold running water to make sure all the dirt is removed. Trim the root end of the bulb and you’re all set. You can clean the leeks ahead of time. After trimming and cleaning wrap the leeks in a paper towel and store them in a sealed bag or container.


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