A Love of Lentils

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I usually don’t dedicate posts to anyone, and I don’t think I’m going to make it a habit, but I would like to draw your attention to Rachel, of Heart of Light, who has blogged about lentils here, here, and here. She likes lentils, and I like her, and so if I were to dedicate this post, it would be to Rachel, who also introduced me to homemade Indian food, including naan, which is so much better than the dry stuff from President’s Choice.

Lentils are hardly photogenic, but trust me: You want to make this dish. Even if you don’t like lentils. Especially if you don’t like lentils. Because these don’t taste like normal lentils. They taste like baked beans. Yes. You heard me. BAKED BEANS. Which might be my favourite part of breakfast: They’re smokey, savoury and a little sweet. And they’re not as unhealthy for you as that giant sausage or those pancakes smothered in syrup and cream. (Don’t get me wrong: I love a good pancake, but these lentils you can eat on a weekday.) Of course, these lentil didn’t come from a book dedicated to eating more legumes, or one prominently featuring Indian food. Actually, I probably shouldn’t say that, because I haven’t actually read the book. But, The Art of Living According to Joe Beef is prominently at the top of my food reading list (okay, it’s actually the third one on that list, and I’m not sure why.) I’d have rushed out to buy it by now, after reading reviews, but I’m not shopping until February 26, when we will be in Montreal anyhow, and it seems appropriate to buy the book in the city to which Joe Beef owes at least some of its dues.

Truth be told, this book and this recipe weren’t on my radar until I saw them featured on Seven Spoons. Tara has given a most in-depth description of her adoration for baked beans, which I can unabashedly say that I agree with. At the end of the day, this post is mostly to say “GO! See what Joe Beef did! She what she did there! Do it! (But maybe tweak it a little to your taste…)” I stuck fairly close to the recipe, save for the bay leaf (which I plumb forgot about) and the addition of molasses (because they’re not baked beans unless you involve maple syrup AND molasses). I finished the pot with some Applewood smoked sea salt, which – as one might expect – imparts an awesome smokey flavour into dishes. I recommend it here, highly, but also on popcorn, since it makes it taste like you’re eating bacon popcorn and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Given that Tara spent a good bit of time writing out the recipe and making her notes, I’m going to suggest that you visit her post or pick up a copy of The Art of Living. Consider this more of an ode to the recipe, than the recipe itself, if you will.

My adaptations to the recipe were – for those who are curious – as follows:

– I used 6 slices of bacon, instead of the 4 that were called for; as a result I omitted the 2 tablespoons of neutral oil called for.
– I left out the mustard powder and bay leaf.
– I added 1 tablespoon molasses, at the same time as the other wet ingredients were added.
– I added 2 teaspoons of smoked sea salt at the very end.

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2 thoughts on “A Love of Lentils

  1. Wow — these look amazing! I’m a huge lentil fan, and hubby loves baked beans and bacon. I’m always looking for more easy lentil recipes. Looks like we’ll both be happy!

    I only just stumbled upon your blog and look forward to catching up. I hope I get to try some cookies sometime, too. Your flavours sound amazing.

    I noticed your 20 goals for 2012. Very cool. If you are looking for something cultural, you can support local classical music-making by the Ottawa Baroque Consort: http://ottawabaroque.ca/

    (I hope it is not completely tactless to shamelessly plug my modest little Baroque group on your blog. Forgive me.)

    All the best,
    Laura Nerenberg

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