This makes enough for 2 people for dinners with leftovers, usually. And you can throw in extra veggies too. Tomatoes are good in it. I found kale in the fridge last night, so in it went. I think we're officially out of vegetables now, except for carrots & onions.
2 slices bacon
1/2 onion, finely diced
2 sm-med carrots or 1 large, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
3/4 cup - 1 cup dried lentils (the green ones are tastier but the orange ones cook faster.. you choose)
1/2 cup off-dry white wine
1 litre chicken broth (the Pacific brand in the tetrapak works well with this) for green lentils
OR 1/2 litre chicken broth for orange lentils
You might need less or more liquid - it depends on your lentils. Pretty much all the amounts are approximate because I never measure anything, so if something looks like too much or too little, it probably is.
1) Slice and dice everything that needs it.
2) Get out a good-sized saucepan, put the bacon in it, and place it on a burner turned to med heat. (The bacon fat renders better if it starts cold.)
3) When the bacon is starting to sizzle nicely, add the onions, carrot & celery. Don't add the garlic yet - it'll burn before anything else cooks properly.
4) Cook until things are browning and sticking to the bottom of the pot. Stir frequently but not constantly. Add lentils.
5) When there is a good amount of brown stickies on the bottom of the pot, add the wine. Stir, releasing the sticky bits from the bottom of the pan. (The stickies make it taste good.)
6) Continue to stir until the wine has mostly evaporated/been absorbed by the lentils.
7) Add the chicken broth, the garlic, and the bay leaves.
8) Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes for green lentils, 10 minutes for orange, but check it often. If it starts to look dry, add more liquid.
9) Start testing the lentils for doneness. I have found big variations in how fast they cook, so they're basically done when the lentils are tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. If they seem pretty tender but there's still a lot of liquid, just take the lid off the pot, turn the heat up to med-high, and wait for the liquid to evaporate, stirring often. Or just say "hey, lentil soup" and eat it anyway. Season to taste - you probably won't need to add a lot of salt thanks to the bacon, but a nice hit of freshly ground pepper works well.
Goes very well with a nice piece of multigrain bread and a salad. Or, if you're trying to get more protein in your diet, a chunk of steamed salmon or some sliced chicken also works nicely. In its drier, less soupy form, it's also good with a poached egg on top.
You can also turn this into lentil curry pretty easily, by replacing the bacon with olive oil and curry powder/spices instead. Everything else stays the same.