Braised Lentils & Greens with Poached Eggs

A recipe from chef and cooking judge, Alia Zaine.


  • 2 ea large brown onion
  • 2 ea carrots
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • big pinch chili flake
  • 4-5 filets anchovy (use the anchovies that are stored in oil)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 10 ounce canned cherry tomatoes
  • 16 ounce beluga lentils (Ingredients below)
  • 1 large bunch red swiss chard
  • ½ bunch red dandelion greens
  • ½ lemon, zested
  • 1-2 ea/person eggs
  • Ricotta salata, thinly sliced using a vegetable peeler
  • Salt
  • Maldon
  • Fresh cracked black pepper

Ingredients for Beluga Lentils

  • 1 Carrot (peeled, cut in half lengthwise and widthwise)
  • 1 celery stalk (cut in half, 1 onion (cut in half)
  • 1 head of garlic (do not peel, but cut just enough of the top off to expose all the garlic cloves)
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • A couple sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Olive oil
  • Water


1.     Remove the stem from the swiss chard and save greens for later use. Finely dice swiss chard stems, carrots (peel first), and onions.

2.     Preheat large sauté pan and coat in enough olive oil to create a little pool (roughly 1 ½ cups) before adding veg mixture and salt to taste. Cook on high heat initially and stir constantly until the majority of the water from the veg has evaporated.  Reduce the heat to the lowest temperature setting and cook veg until tender enough to be spreadable (roughly 1 ½  hours) stirring occasionally.

3.     While veg is cooking you may begin cooking the lentils.  Start by preheating an enameled cast iron pot to medium heat. Coat the bottom of the pot with enough olive oil to create a small pool and add in the veg, cut-side down, and herbs (carrot, onion, celery, tomato, garlic, thyme, and bayleaf). Cook veg until cut-side is deeply caramelized then add enough water to cook the lentils (roughly 2 ½ quarts). Add lentils to this veg stock and cook on low just until tender. Remove from heat and add enough salt to season water (roughly a couple tablespoons)

4.     Once lentils have cooled in the liquid, remove carrot, celery, onion, tomato, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Discard the thyme and bay leaf and add the veg to a blender (please squeeze the head of garlic so that just the cloves are added to the blender). Blend veg until smooth, adding a little of the lentil liquid if necessary, and save in a separate container for later use

5.     Now you can begin the composed dish. Preheat a large sauté pan on low heat then add enough olive oil to create a small pool in the bottom of the sauté pan. Add sliced garlic and chili flakes and cook gently until edges of garlic start to turn golden. Then, add anchovies and cook until they “melt” (1-2 minutes) then add paprika and cook for 15 seconds.

6.     Increase the heat to medium and immediately add the greens from the swiss chard and dandelion greens, both of which have been roughly chopped. Season greens with salt and cook just until lightly wilted

7.     Add a heaping spoonful of the swiss chard soffritto, the pureed vegetables, and canned tomatoes and cook on medium low until the greens are tender and flavors have married.

8.     Add lemon zest, lentils, and just enough of their liquid so that the eggs have enough moisture to simmer in.

9.     Create little pockets in the lentil/greens mixture by pushing aside the solids and exposing little pools of liquid. Crack the eggs into these pockets. Cover the sauté pan and simmer until egg whites are fully cooked and the yolks runny.

10. To serve, first spoon lentils and greens into a bowl then top with eggs. Drizzle eggs with a touch of olive oil, black pepper, and maldon. Then garnish the dish with the thinly sliced ricotta salata.

Alia Zaine Cooks! - Home & Family

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