Porky lentils

banner

More a meal unto itself than a side dish, these porky lentils can also be served alongside sausages or grilled meats as a rich, wintery indulgence. If you remove the pancetta, they make a great Vegetarian accompaniment to roast vegetables, such as beetroot or pumpkin, and can be served with a spoonful of goat’s curd and a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 100 g ( oz) pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 2 long red chillies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 210 g ( oz/1 cup) puy lentils or tiny blue-green lentils
  • 750 ml (26 fl oz/3 cups) vegetable stock
  • 2 handfuls flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • goat’s curd, to serve (optional)

Method

Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook for 2 minutes before adding the onion and garlic. Cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and golden.

Add the celery, bay leaf, chilli and lentils and stir for 1 minute before adding the stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered, or until the lentils are cooked through. Fold the chopped parsley through the cooked lentils. If you like, top with small spoonfuls of soft goat’s curd or crumble some goat’s cheese over the top before serving.