When I make a dish with lentils in it, I know that I am somewhat limited because the flavor of the lentils will overpower anything I add. They are the healthy main attraction in the dish. That’s just how lentils work. I’m not saying I don’t enjoy this. It’s just that I need to be in a lentil state of mind. What are your thoughts about these legumes?
I wasn’t exactly in this mindset when I went to my local co-op; instead, I saw a price I couldn’t resist and stocked up on these bad boys. I forgot I already had green lentils in the cabinet when I picked up the black version. I am always looking for lentil recipes. I’m giving out 3 today that you can make from one dish. I realized (takes me a while sometimes) that lentils make for a great dip and soup. My other realization was that they could be a replacement for black beans in soups and dips.
To start, I made bitchincamero’s pancetta parmesan lentils but didn’t make the smoked paprika oil. Come to think of it, I used bacon instead of pancetta and changed the directions around a bit and then used the leftovers with a few more ingredients to make a soup and dip. Let’s begin:
Bacon Parmesan Lentils
Serves 6-8 (use leftovers for the following soup and dip recipes)
2 slices of bacon
½ medium onion, red or white, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
4 cups green or black lentils
2-2 1/2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable)
1 cup diced fire-roasted tomatoes (or regular)
salt to taste
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika-optional
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp white wine or sherry vinegar-optional
1 oz Parmesan or manchego, shavings-optional
Heat a dutch oven or large pot over medium heat and cook bacon until crisp. Remove and set aside, then add onion to grease until softened, about 7 min and add garlic for another minute. Add the lentils, tomatoes and broth to deglaze the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low/medium, cover and simmer for 25-40 minutes, stirring and keeping an eye on the lentils as you want them to soften but not be mush. When the lentils are tender, add the salt, chili powder, red pepper flakes, paprika, lemon juice, white wine or vinegar and simmer for 5 or so minutes. Place in bowls to serve and top with bacon and cheese. With the leftovers, you can make one or both of the following recipes.
* Add 1 more cup of broth, 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional) and melt cheddar cheese to the lentil leftovers to make a dip that is great with pita chips or bread and vegetables like carrots and cauliflower. If you are worried about not having enough to feed your family or guests, add some cooked and smashed black beans or other beans. Or add 2-3 more cups of broth to make a soup and mash some of the lentils to thicken and top with more cheese. I used sharp cheddar which worked well with the smoky flavor. I think the soup could benefit from another cup of diced fire-roasted tomatoes to feed more people but that is up to you. These recipes can last for days from basically one lentil dish. It’s economical, filling, fairly healthy and will serve quite a few people.