Lentils with bacon, dried apricots, and goat cheese
I’ve been eating a lot of green lentils lately. It took me a few years to learn to cook them. They’re cheap, they’re probably pretty good for me, and they go with everything.
My counters still aren’t sealed, and every drop of oil that hits them will seep in and remain forever. But I’m not waiting until the end of the month to cook, and anyway, things can only go uphill after we shattered a one-liter bottle of fancy olive oil on Sunday afternoon, projecting oil every which way, but mostly on the counter. So I’m back to my regular schedule of cooking every day. And yesterday, a colleague returning from France gave me a beautiful little nub of unpasteurized Cher goat cheese, which got me thinking about what I had in my pantry. What we ended up with was Leland’s Lentils:
This was delicious. The white on top is chèvre with a dollop of crème fraîche. The orange part is stewed dried apricots. You can also see bacon and red onions floating around in there.
- olive oil
- 1/4 pound bacon, sliced
- 1 red onion, sliced thinly
- 1.5 cups green lentils
- stock or water (I used beef stock) to cover the lentils, hot
- a bunch of thyme, tied together with string
- 1/2 cup dried apricots, sliced in half
- goat cheese
- crème fraîche, optional
Cook the bacon in some olive oil until the bacon starts to crisp. Throw off some of the fat, unless you want really fatty lentils. Add the onion, season it with salt, and let it soften. Add the lentils, and stir them around to get them coated. Add hot stock to cover the lentils. Season with salt and pepper and add the thyme. Cover, and cook on low heat. Ten minutes later, add the apricots. (Depending on what kind of dried apricots you have, they might get too soft too fast. You might like them that way. Put them in in stages if you’re not sure.) Cook for about an hour, but test the lentils from time to time. I’m still learning about legumes—it might be easier to pre-cook them on their own in stock and then to mix them in if you’re in a hurry.
Finish with goat cheese and crème fraîche, if using, and serve with some crusty bread if you have it.