Monday, May 16, 2011

Bacon Lentil Pap

I was sort of scavenging around the kitchen for scraps to make into dinner last night, and figured that lentils would probably make for a solid meal. In searching for what to do with them, I came upon a number of recipes, one of which suggested cooking them in pork fat. This, of course, seemed like a great idea. I then found some other recipes, and combined them in my head with inspiration from a recipe I really like for pappa al pomodoro* (now that I look at it, the resemblance is actually quite minimal, and is based mostly on the bread and vinegar part, but whatever), from which this dish derives is onomatopoeic ish? name.

2/3 cup lentils
2 slices thick cut bacon (more is great too, that's just what I had handy)
8 cloves garlic
3 slices bread (day-old/stale works well, but fresh is fine too. but it needs to be real bread, the quality kind with a proper crust, not some sliced sammich shit.)
vinegar (red wine is best, but I ran out and supplemented with apple cider and then, in desperation, balsamic)

Peel and finely chop the garlic. In a heavy bottomed pot over medium-low heat, fry the bacon. Once the fat has rendered, remove the strips, setting them aside to cool. Maybe throw in some extra bacon grease - I did. Add the diced garlic to the fat, and as soon as it starts to sizzle and get fragrant - ie, before it turns brown or black, which happens so much faster than you'd expect - add the lentils and toss. Then add 4 cups of water, some salt, a bunch of oregano, and a good few glugs of vinegar. Cook at a medium-low simmer until the lentils are done. Every recipe I consulted said this would take about 25 minutes, but wtf, my lentils took like an hour. What's that about**. Anyways, be sure to check on 'em occasionally and add more water if necessary. Once the lentils are basically cooked, toast your 3 slices of bread (stale bread would not require toasting), roughly chop it, and add it to the pot. Boom, you're done.

Oh, I forgot - about 20 minutes into cooking, I discovered that I had two very nice tomatoes, so I chopped them up and added them as well. You could probably use a can of diced ones too. I think they're a good touch.

*Which, by the way, I have made with a surprise addition of chorizo, and it worked very well. I thought I'd posted about that, but apparently not. Mea culpa!

**Incidentally, one recipe I saw said to put the lentils in cold salted water, bring it to a boil, cook 5 minutes, remove from heat, let them sit for an hour, then cook 25 minutes. This seemed like a royal pain in the ass, but maybe it would be more effective?

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