Cider and Green Lentil Stew

In recent weeks my Grandfather has developed a penchant for divulging a number of his favourite Clement Freud anecdotes. His favourite story concerns a trip Freud made to Mexico. Whilst in Mexico, Freud thought he would sample the delights of a true Central American Chilli, something he soon regretted. After ordering ‘six bottled of beer in quick succession’, Freud advised the chef that it may be best to warn visitors about the deadly speciality. The chef replied that ‘the ratio [of chilli to meat] was about one to one.’ Had Freud wanted his chilli with only a little spice the chef said that ‘there was an American place just down the road.’ I think it’s rather a humorous little tale, though perhaps you’ll disagree if you are an American. Anyway, a deep interest on the writings of Freud developed within, and I asked to borrow my Grandfather’s copy of ‘Freud of Food’. To my delight I discovered that my taste in humour shared an even closer affinity to that of Freud’s, when I discovered a section entitled, ‘Give The Wife A Break’.

In Freud’s book I discovered a recipe which makes use of green lentils. As you all know, I’m rather reluctant to post recipes which have been devised by others. As such, I decided to run with the idea of green lentils, but make the recipe my own. At this point I remembered that cider goes perfectly in dishes like this, and purchased two bottles of fairly dry, strong apple cider – one for the dish, one for myself. One cannot emphasise enough the need for a fairly dry, if not very dry, cider in this recipe. You should really be aiming for at least 5.5% alcohol content. Cider which contains less alcohol generally isn’t what I would describe as cider. After all, cider is made with apples which contain a lot of sugar. Sugar is what determines the alcohol content of a drink. If it has an alcohol content of between 4% and 5%, then it hasn’t been fermented for long enough. I used a bottle of cider which dated back to 2010 and had an alcohol content of 8.2%  – that’s the proper stuff.

Cider and Green Lentil Stew

Serves 4


• 250g green lentils

• 1 large carrot, roughly chopped

• 1 leek, sliced

• 1 onion, finely chopped

• 2 bay leaves

• A few sprigs of fresh thyme

• 500ml good quality apple cider (see above)

• 200ml vegetable stock

• A knob of butter (optional)

• Olive oil

• Salt and pepper


1. Begin by frying the onion and leek in a good slug of olive oil. Cook for 5 minutes before adding the carrot, cook for a further 2 minutes.

2. Stir in the green lentils, do not forget to rinse them. Pour in the cider and 100ml of the stock, before adding the bay leaves, thyme and butter. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the lentils are to your personal taste. One may need to add the remaining vegetable stock before serving. Season to taste.

Cost: Lentils are ridiculously cheap, something I have purported any number of times. Since vegetables are also cheap, one can assume that such a dish will be rather easy on one’s wallet. Cider is probably the most expensive ingredient here, though it’s often on sale. Assuming that a bottle of dry cider will set you back no more than £1.80, at a high estimate, this meal should set one back no more than around £2.70.


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76 comments on “Cider and Green Lentil Stew

  1. Granny
    January 25, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    Delicious. I think Sigmund would be quite proud of his grandson, don’t you? Absolutely enjoyed the way you set the scene for this particular dish. I think Sir Clement would be delighted… also with your choice of truly hard cider perhaps!

    • frugalfeeding
      January 29, 2012 at 6:39 pm

      thanks! Oh yes, he would. I think this is one of my favourite blogs from a writing perspective.

  2. bombedpop
    January 25, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    looks great – will have to try this.

  3. cookinginsens
    January 25, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Everyone seems to be doing lentils! I’m making a peti sale tomorrow. This looks great!

    • frugalfeeding
      January 29, 2012 at 6:38 pm

      Lentils are truly brilliant to be fair 😀

  4. cookinginsens
    January 25, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    That’s petit sale

  5. theveggievore
    January 25, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    I love reading your posts for the recipes and all the little British-isms! My grandmother was English–raised in Ipswich– and things like “a knob of butter” remind me of her. Cheers from across the pond. 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      January 29, 2012 at 6:37 pm

      Ah, thanks! I shall keep them coming! I’m so glad I give you good memories.

  6. Chica Andaluza
    January 25, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    What a gorgeous recipe – have never cooked lentils with cider but can imagine the taste would be fantastic. And at least we can get good cider from Asturias here (although my Spanish partner prefers English – says it´s far superior!)

    • frugalfeeding
      January 29, 2012 at 6:36 pm

      Thanks – you should. It was wonderful. I’ve tried Asturian cider, it was delicious – though perhaps not as good as the English stuff.

  7. Stephanie
    January 25, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    This looks absolutely fantastic! I’ll definitely be making this.

  8. Huy-zer
    January 25, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Great feature pic, FF. That is an amazing saucepan you cooked in. It looks like a dutch oven saucepan??! Is there such a thing?

    • frugalfeeding
      January 29, 2012 at 6:36 pm

      Thanks! I wasn’t so sure to begin with. Yes, it is that sort of thing… I love it.

  9. Conor Bofin
    January 25, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    I have to add my voice of congratulations here. Great writing. Great photography and the bonus of using budget ingredients. Given that the IMF now owns Ireland, I suspect I will need all the budget recipes I can get my hands on!

  10. Lilly West
    January 25, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Your soup looks delicious. I’ve never tried cider in a soup. Thanks for contacting me last week, it’s fun to be part of the blogger set.

    • frugalfeeding
      January 29, 2012 at 8:29 pm

      Thanks! It was yummy. You should totally give it a go.

  11. Smedette
    January 25, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    Love lentils and everything else about this recipe.

  12. spree
    January 25, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    I’ve never had hard cider so I can’t really begin to imagine the taste of this entire dish – but it LOOKS wonderful and I know you’d never feed us anything that wasn’t!

    • frugalfeeding
      January 29, 2012 at 6:34 pm

      Oh my lord, get some! It is so good. Though, it may take you a few bottles to refine your taste! Of course I wouldn’t!

  13. cravesadventure
    January 25, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    I have been looking for a lentil recipe – may have to give this one a whirl. Thanks for sharing!

  14. glutenfreezen
    January 25, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Your stew looks delicious! I would also have loved to try the hot chili that Freud ate. (Even though I’m an American 😉 Would also like to hear a little about that chapter ‘Give The Wife a Break’ that you spoke of…

    • frugalfeeding
      January 29, 2012 at 6:33 pm

      Thanks! To be honest, I don;t think I could handle it. I love the title of that chapter – so funny in a chauvinistic type of way 😀

  15. bitsandbreadcrumbs
    January 25, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    Your stew looks delicious! Dry cider and lentils, what a great combination!

    • frugalfeeding
      January 29, 2012 at 6:32 pm

      Thanks! It really is a great combination of flavours – I was very pleased.

  16. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide
    January 25, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    Hi, my name’s Greg and I’m an American. That’s so true about the American restaurants. If you want a Mexican place to serve it like they would to Mexicans, you have to tell them sometimes. It is a proven fact that the more North you go the more sensitive your hot-sensing taste buds are. I’m happy to represent the whole of North America today! Also, this stew looks great. Hi to Rufus.

    • frugalfeeding
      January 29, 2012 at 6:32 pm

      Ah, that is unfortunate :D. Glad you like the look of this. To be honest, I couldn’t deal with a proper Mexican chili.

  17. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide
    January 25, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    Ha, while flitting between your blog and Natalie’s I just said hi to her dog. I resign my post as North American ambassador effective immediately. It’s clearly too much responsibility.

  18. Can't live without....
    January 25, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    it looks so comforting….love the rustic feel.

    • frugalfeeding
      January 29, 2012 at 6:31 pm

      Thanks, that’s usually what I aim for 😀

  19. ceciliag
    January 26, 2012 at 12:25 am

    great. we have cider working in the basement but i am not sure it is ready yet so i will make this next year!! c

    • frugalfeeding
      January 29, 2012 at 6:31 pm

      Yes, leave it a while longer – the drier the better.

  20. thekalechronicles
    January 26, 2012 at 12:39 am

    I wish good cider was easier to get and less pricey here in the States: I would love to use it in cooking. Maybe Cecilia will tell me how she pressed and fermented hers.

    • frugalfeeding
      January 29, 2012 at 6:30 pm

      Ah, that is a shame. better not to use it at all, then. I think cider is relatively easy to make.

  21. thehealthyfitdiva
    January 26, 2012 at 2:33 am

    Love the look of this stew. Looks so warm and comforting. Perfect with a piece of crusty warm bread!

    • frugalfeeding
      January 29, 2012 at 6:29 pm

      Thanks! It was completely that. Oh yes, definitely.

  22. Cara
    January 26, 2012 at 5:09 am

    I’m offended by this story!!
    {yet delighted by the recipe}
    Okay, okay, I’m not really offended 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      January 29, 2012 at 6:29 pm

      Damn, I shall have to try harder next time. So glad you like!

  23. Maya Oryan
    January 26, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Super mix!

  24. Karista
    January 26, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    This looks divine! What a beautiful and comforting, healthy dish. Makes me want to grab a spoon, reach in the picture and take a bite!

    • frugalfeeding
      January 29, 2012 at 6:28 pm

      Thanks, that’s exactly why I made it – though it would make most drunk I expect :D. Don’t do that, it won’t work.

  25. promenadeplantings
    January 26, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    I’ve never cooked lentils with cider before. I’ll have to give this a go. Thanks

  26. Sydney Jones
    January 27, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    Oh, that looks yummy!

  27. movita beaucoup
    January 27, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    Oh, the colours in those photos! Delightful!!

    • frugalfeeding
      January 29, 2012 at 6:26 pm

      Thanks, Movita. I was very pleased with the way it turned out.

  28. Amy
    January 28, 2012 at 12:39 am

    What a great idea to add cider to this! It probably adds that perfect amount of sweetness. Yum!

  29. Kay aka Babygirl
    January 28, 2012 at 6:29 am

    The green lentils in this dish look absolutely amazing. And I bet they taste divine. I really like this stew recipe.. It certainly is great for the cold weather 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      January 29, 2012 at 6:26 pm

      Thanks, Kay. I’m glad you think so! this was a truly delicious stew.

  30. Averil
    January 28, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Love stews and this looks like something I could eat all day…

  31. Norma Chang
    January 28, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Hard cider and lentil, that’s a great idea. Your soup looks absolutely delicious and comforting.

    • frugalfeeding
      January 29, 2012 at 8:26 pm

      Oh yes, it is. Nothing like a good, hard cider 😀

  32. Mint Cuisine
    January 28, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    I got reccomended your blog by Kimby. As a fellow male food blogger, I’m very impressed! I’ve got a bottle of cider sitting in my fridge waiting for inspiration, and this is it – consider this recipe bookmarked.

    • frugalfeeding
      January 29, 2012 at 8:26 pm

      I’m glad you came and thanks again for my little award 😀

  33. Richa@HobbyandMore
    January 29, 2012 at 6:08 am

    i love this combination of green lentils and cider.. i bet the flavors all balance each other nicely .. so perfect for this cold weather!

  34. infinebalance
    January 29, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Found this post on Grannies weekend highlights. It looks so good … cider would give it beautiful flavour….and perfect for this frigid weekend!

    • frugalfeeding
      January 29, 2012 at 6:01 pm

      Awesome! I’m so grateful that people link to my blog! It really does, especially if one uses a good, strong cider.

  35. theevolutionofeating
    February 6, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Nice recipe and gorgeous photos. I’m envious! Also loving the low-cost theme.

  36. Christine
    April 13, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    That was absolutely delicious! Served it with some grilled polenta.

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