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French Green Lentils with Bacon, Red Wine, and Mushrooms

A quick, weeknight dinner that's a little bit healthy, a little bit naughty, and very filling.
Servings 2 people


  • 1 cup dry French green lentils, rinsed
  • 1 yellow onion, halved; keep one half whole, chop the other half
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • Olive oil
  • 4 strips good bacon (I like Neuske's Applewood smoked), cut into lardons
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup red wine (whatever you're drinking)
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, halved
  • Finely chopped Italian parsley
  • Parmesan cheese (for sprinkling)


  • Start by cooking your lentils. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add your lentils, the not-chopped half of the onion, the bay leaves and a big pinch of salt. Cook for 25 minutes, then check for doneness. (The lentils should be totally cooked through and a little bit creamy.) Strain, conserving the lentil cooking liquid. Remove the cooked onion and the bay leaves.
  • In that same pot, add a splash of olive oil and the bacon. Turn the heat to medium/high and begin rendering the bacon fat; don't go too fast, or it'll get dark before all of the fat renders. When the bacon looks deep golden brown and there's lots of fat in the pan, add the chopped onion and a pinch of salt. Cook until the onion softens, then add the garlic and the red chili flakes (to taste), cooking until the garlic starts to brown.
  • Add the red wine and use it to pick up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. When the wine evaporates, add the lentils back in, a big splash of the cooking water (about a cup), and a big pinch of salt. Cook until the liquid is almost entirely evaporated, then set aside.
  • In a non-stick skillet, heat 1/4 cup of olive oil on high heat and, when very hot, add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Cook the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until deep golden brown on all sides. Off the heat, add some of the chopped parsley.
  • To plate: spoon the lentils into a bowl and top with the mushrooms, more parsley, and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.