- 1 cup dried French green lentils
- 3 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought vegetable broth
- 8-12 ounces assorted mushrooms (such as cremini, shiitake and oyster), cleaned
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
- 3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup dry white wine (may substitute sake or sherry)
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (may substitute half-and-half)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
- 8 ounces kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped
Rinse the lentils thoroughly. Combine them with the broth in a medium pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat until the liquid is barely bubbling and cook, uncovered, until the lentils have swelled and absorbed much of the liquid and are barely tender but intact and not mushy, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Remove and discard the stems from any mushrooms of the tough-stem variety, such as shiitakes. (For oysters, remove and discard just the thickest part of the bottom of the stem, and leave creminis and button mushrooms intact.) Coarsely chop the mushrooms.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; cook for a few minutes, until it is lightly browned. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for another minute, until the onion just starts to get tender. Add the mushrooms and salt in an even layer. Cook undisturbed for 2 minutes or until the bottom layer is deeply browned. Stir a few times, pack the mushrooms into an even layer again and cook undisturbed for another 2 minutes or until the bottom layer is browned. Repeat another time or two, until all the mushrooms are deeply caramelized and have shrunk, 7 to 9 minutes total.
Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute, then pour in the wine. Deglaze the pan by scraping up all the flavorful brown bits from the bottom. Cook to reduce the wine until no liquid remains.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the cream. Let it bubble gently for 2 minutes, until slightly reduced and thickened, then add the cooked lentils and their liquid. Stir to combine, taste, and add more salt if needed. Cover the pan and let it cook, barely bubbling, for 5 minutes.
Add the kale to the lentils. Cover and cook until the kale is tender but still bright green, 2 to 3 minutes. Taste, and add more salt, if desired. Divide the lentils among serving bowls and top each with an egg, if using. Serve hot.