Once upon a time… a girl bought a bag of lentils. The girl put the lentils in the pantry with all the other groceries. All the little lentils thought each time the girl opened the pantry that it might be their turn, but it never was. Slowly the lentils got shoved deeper into the back of the pantry, mocked by all the other pantry residents. One day the girl noticed the lentils, and was inspired to redeem them from the ostracised level in pantry society to be the centre of the evening. From this night onwards the lentils were never mocked again because even the popular can of tomatoes had never inspired the girl. And they all lived happily ever after.
Lentils really do have a lot of potential, but they are rarely at the forefront of my mind. Recently I finally got round to using the pack that I had bought some months early. The lentils are quite earthy and matched well with smoky free-range bacon, mushrooms and sage. Given my current addiction to walnuts, they were an essential addition to top it off.
Lentils with Bacon, Mushrooms and Sage
Serves 2, 15 minutes preparation plus 15 cooking
1 400g can of brown lentils, or 1 cup (uncooked) of lentils
200 gms of bacon, sliced into 2cm strips
400 gms of mushrooms, sliced
30 sage leaves
2 shallots, diced
Salt and pepper
Rocket (arugula) or watercress
½ cup of walnuts
If you are using dry lentils, cook in gently simmering water for around 35 minutes until soft but not mushy.
Fry your bacon for a few minutes before adding the mushrooms. Cook for 5-10 minutes until the mushrooms have cooked, when the mushrooms are nearly cooked, add the sage and shallots to fry for about 3 minutes before adding the lentils.
Finally add the lentils, stirring gently until the lentils are heated through. Season with salt and pepper, be easy on the salt as the bacon will have added most of the saltiness needed in this dish.
Serve on a bed of rocket or watercress and finish with crumbled walnuts and a drizzle of olive oil.