"French Lentils" are only called "french" due to the simplicity in which they are cooked, and the type of lentils you choose to cook with. preferably, you choose what is called "French Dupuy Lentils" They are a dark green/brown color. The reason is that they keep their shape when you cook them. Different than the yellow or red lentils which disintegrate and form the more Indian style Dal soups. You can use brown if you can't find "Dupuy" or Green lentils.
Now, a word on "kombu". This is a type of deep ocean seaweed in a dried form. I use it always when I cook any kind of beans. Why, it changes the chemical composition of the skin of the bean and makes it...well,....so you won't ...fart. :) It also adds tons of minerals to anything you cook it with! If you don't have any or don't feel like buying it, it is easily omittable.
2 TBL (2 soupspoons) sesame oil (NOT roasted)
1.5 cups Dupuy or green or brown lentils
1 inch (5cm) piece of kombu
2 bay leaves
2 carrots, chopped fine
1 large onion, chopped fine
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped fine (depends how much you like, the cooking time will take away alot of the flavor potency)
seasalt & pepper (to add after cooking)
2-3 TBL (soupspoons)or soy sauce or tamari instead of seasalt
In a medium pot, heat, add sesame oil. Medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Fry until onions are transparent. Watch the garlic does not burn, then it is bitter.
Then layer kombu, bayleaves,and carrots. Cover with water 1/4inch+ (3cm) above level of the ingredients in the pot. Bring to a light boil, turn heat to VERY LOW. Use a heat diffuser on the smallest burner of you have it. You want these to cook really slowly. Even then, they will only take about 1 hour, max.
After 40 minutes, taste beans.... are they still a bit hard, then cook them some more. Add 1/2 cup more water so there is always a bit of water in the pot. It's great for serving.
Once the lentils are cooked, adjust flavoring with seasalt or soy sauce or tamari. Then continue to cook 5 minutes more.
Serve with a bit of fresh paisley sprinkled on top. With some basmati or brown rice or quinoa or bulgur. It is GREAT with a sesame-red cabbage salad!