Braised Lentils with Greens and Bacon

  • 1 ½ lb. greens
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 c. low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 ½ c. French lentils
  • 5-6 slices bacon
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • salt
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. paprika
  • ½ c. dry red or white wine
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • sugar to taste
  • black pepper
  • sherry vinegar or lemon juice to taste

Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil. Remove greens from thick stems. Coarsely chop greens and finer stems. Finely chop the coarse stems and set aside. After rinsing leaves, add them to boiling water and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Immediately drain greens and transfer to a bowl of cold water. Once greens have cooled, squeeze firmly to remove excess liquid. Set aside. Meanwhile, add bay leaf to chicken stock and bring to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add lentils and simmer until tender, 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Cut bacon crosswise into 1/3-inch-wide pieces. Brown the bacon in large Dutch oven over medium heat. Transfer pieces to paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Discard all but 2-3 Tbsp. rendered fat; add stems, onion, carrot and large pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and continue to cook until vegetables begin to brown and stick to pan. Add paprika and cook, stirring constantly, until aromatic and toasted, about 1 minute. Add wine, thyme and large pinch of sugar; cook until liquid has evaporated, 1-2 minutes. Stir in lentils and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and cook until flavors have blended, about 20 minutes.

Stir in cooked chard leaves, adjust seasonings with salt, pepper, sugar and sherry vinegar or lemon juice to taste. Serve immediately, garnished with reserved bacon.

From Foodday.

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