Lentils and split peas

Here’s a great recipe I developed using suggestions out of a magazine. This is served as a vegetable garnish to a meat dish and can be made a day before. While very tasty, most would agree that it cannot be the main dish or even the main vegetable without greatly increasing the quantity of bacon.


  1 large onion, diced
  2 large stalks of celery, diced
  4 cloves garlic
  10 slices bacon
  4 bay leaves
  5 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  2½ cups lentils or split peas
  ½ cup Marsala or Muscat (sweet, dessert wine)
  2 tsp fresh-ground cumin
  ¾ tsp ground allspice
  2 tsp lemon juice
  2 tsp grated orange zest


1. Sauté bacon in 2-quart sauce pan until brown. Meanwhile, ...

2. Dice the onion and celery to similar-sized chunks, along with garlic cloves, and pulse them into small, but coarse bits in the food processor. Add to sauce pan and continue sauté another 20 minutes on medium or medium-high until browning.

3. Add bay leaves, cumin and allspice, chicken stock, wine and lentil/peas. Bring to a boil. Cook for about ½ hour for lentils, much longer for split peas. Do not, however, cook down to mush; the vegetables should be al dente or nearly at least holding their shape.

4. Shortly before removing from heat, introduce the remaining ingredients, zest and lemon juice.

5. Store in refrigerator overnight if needed; rewarm in saucepan with a little stock if gone dry.