I’m usually someone who firmly believes in never lying to children. So what do you do when you get the jar of lentils out of the cupboard and the toddler, who has been very picky about what he eats of late, claps his hands and says, “Yay! Beans!?” You smile and say, “Yes, we’re having beans for dinner,” of course. (Then, if your husband looks at you ashamedly, you amend it to, “Yes, uhm…lentil beans.”)
This recipe, adapted from the Wildwood cookbook, will please even the pickiest of eaters. Who can resist fennel and bacon? No, not even the picky toddler.
Feeds 4 people as a main dish
1 cup dried green lentils
4-6 slice of bacon, diced
2 carrots, diced or sliced
1 bulb fennel
1 small onion, diced
1 tsp. salt
2 cups stock (I used turkey.)
1 tsp. fresh thyme
- Put the lentils in a bowl and fill with warm water. Allow to soak for one hour.
- Dice your vegetables. To prepare the fennel, trim the bulb top, bottom, and any spots. Halve and slice thinly.
- In a large skillet over medium high heat, brown the bacon. (Watch out, it will probably spit at you.)
- Reserve the bacon drippings in the pan and remove the bacon with a slotted spoon.
- To the hot drippings (now over medium), add the carrots, fennel, onion and salt. Sauté for about ten minutes.
- Stir in your stock, thyme, and pepper. Add soaked and drained lentils. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Taste your lentils to test for doneness.
- Add your bacon and enjoy.
I served this over some chopped, fresh spinach. Others ate it without anything green.
Other fennel recipes: