This is one of my favourite side dishes because bacon and lentils are perfect together. The rich meatiness of bacon easily complements the earthy hearty flavours of lentils. Try making this dish once and it will instantly become one of your favourites too!
Yield: 4-6 servings
8 slices of bacon, thinly sliced
A big splash of water
1 large onion, minced
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup of green lentils
3 cups of water
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon of any vinegar or the juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon of fresh tarragon, chopped
Place your favourite saucepan over medium-high heat. Toss in the bacon then pour in enough water to just barely cover it. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon. As the water simmers the bacon will begin to cook. Then as the water evaporates the bacon will render, releasing its fat, and will crisp as the fat left behind heats past the boiling point of water into the flavour zone. Stir and be patient, it is worth getting every piece evenly crisped, about five or six minutes. If you like, pour off half or so of the bacon drippings.
Toss in the carrots, onions, celery, and garlic and continue cooking, stirring until the veggies are heated through and their flavour brightens, two to three minutes.
Stir in the lentils, water, salt, and bay leaf. Bring the works to a full boil then lower the heat, adjusting it so the liquid is barely simmering. Simmer until the lentils are tender and most of the water has been absorbed, about 20 minutes or so. Stir in the lemon juice and tarragon, serve and share!
This is one of my all-time favourite comfort foods. Just like high-starch rice, barley may be simmered and stirred into a smooth, creamy risotto, absorbing the flavour of the bacon and rich chicken broth as it slowly cooks. The results are richly flavoured and deeply satisfying.