Saturday, May 18, 2013

Bacon lentil side dish

Like clockwork, as my return to Amereeka draws nigh, I begin burning through my pork reserves like an asteroid entering Earth's atmosphere. I've had some luck before uniting lentils and pork, so I figured I'd give it another go. I poked around the internet and found this recipe, and also this one, and sort of combined them.

3 glasses green lentils, bacon, onion, garlic, carrot, celery, fennel, chard, red wine vinegar

I put 3 glasses of lentil in a pot with the scraps (ie, the leafy bits) of a fennel bulb and a teeny bunch of celery* and added 1 liter or so of boiling water and two packets of Goya Sazon powder. In the future, I'd add some bullion as well, or at least some salt.

As those cooked, I fried half a pound of bacon in two different pans over medium low heat. When it was done, I placed it on paper towels, and poured the grease into one pan.

I finely diced the fennel, two onions, and chard stems and put them in the pan I'd poured the grease out of, adding a little bit of grease from the other pan. I let that cook over medium heat until softened but still firm. Meanwhile, I chopped the celery and (peeled) carrot quite fine and put them aside.

At this point, my lentil were done, so I drained them, discarded the scraps, and put them in a big bowl. I added the sautéed onion, fennel and chard stems. In the less greasy pan, I cooked the celery and carrot for a couple minutes, until slightly mellowed but still crunchy, and added them to the bowl.

I chopped the chard leaves into strips then chunks of strips and put them in the pan, drizzling plenty of red wine vinegar over them. I pressed in 4 cloves of garlic and cooked over low heat, stirring. When the garlic had lost its bite and the chard was wilted and well infused with garlic and vinegar flavor (2-3 minutes), I added it to the bowl. Then I crumbled the bacon in and stirred everything.

I tried to make a dressing with mustard, bacon grease, salt, pepper and olive oil, but it wasn't very good so I trashed it. Instead, I added plenty of salt and pepper to the bowl and more red wine vinegar and served it. And it was pretty dang good, if I do say so myself. I think having the chard leaves be the primary dressing vehicle, as it were, kept the flavors of the other ingredients from being overpowered. The texture was nice, crispety and crunchety - important, I think, with lentils, which can very easily be sort of chalky. Overall, definitely a success!

*Turks don't seem to recognize celery stalks as food. You can buy celery root, but the stalks are hard to find, and usually scrawny, pathetic little things thinner than a drinking straw.

1 comment:

Bensa Bacon Society said...

Oh my gosh, this recipe sounds sooo good. Lentils and bacon sound like a match made in heaven. Thanks for posting the directions and photos, too.