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Warm French Lentils with Labneh, Poached Egg and Crunchy Salad
Make the Lentils: In a medium stockpot, heat the oil over medium until shimmering. Add onion and carrot and cook until softened but not browned, about 7-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add lentils and stir to incorporate, then add stock and bay leaves and stir to combine. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for about 25-30 minutes until the lentils are just tender. Stir in a splash of sherry to brighten the lentils and season with salt to taste. Strain if needed.
While the lentils are cooking, make the Crunchy Salad: In a medium bowl, toss the fennel with olive oil, sumac, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper, adding more lemon juice if needed.
To serve, spoon lentils into serving bowls and place a large spoonful of seasoned labneh in the center of each bowl, spreading it out with the back of a spoon. Nestle an egg into each labneh nest and top with bacon, if using. Just before serving, toss the arugula into the fennel mixture and check seasoning. Serve immediately alongside the warm lentils.
Recipe Note: Using stock (rather than broth, which is salted) is important because lentils will break down too quickly if seasoned with salt too early. If stock isn’t available, opt for low-sodium broth instead. If cooking the lentils ahead of time, do not discard any of the reserved liquid and use this to reheat the lentils later.