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Baked Lentils (linzen) Recipe

Baked Lentils (Linzen) Recipe

Introduction:
Lentils are a staple in many cuisines around the world, including in Middle Eastern, Indian, and Mediterranean cooking. This recipe for Baked Lentils, also known as Linzen, is a delicious and hearty dish that has a long history. It is a simple and affordable dish that can be enjoyed as a main course or served as a side dish.

Fun Fact: Lentils have been cultivated for thousands of years and have been found in archaeological sites dating back to 8,000 BC. They are one of the oldest cultivated crops and were even mentioned in the Bible.

Ingredients:
- 1/2 pound of lentils
- 1 small onion
- 3-4 ounces of smoked fat meat (such as bacon or ham)
- 1 pint of boiling water
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of pepper

Instructions:

1. Pick and wash the lentils: Begin by picking through the lentils to remove any debris or small stones. Then, rinse them under cold water to remove any dirt or impurities.

2. Soak the lentils: Place the washed lentils in a bowl and cover them with cold water. Allow them to soak overnight. Soaking helps to soften the lentils and reduce cooking time.

3. Cook the lentils: In the morning, drain the soaked lentils and transfer them to a large saucepan. Add about a quart of water to the saucepan and place it over medium heat.

4. Skim the lentils: As the water begins to boil, you will notice that the lentils rise to the top. Use a skimmer or a slotted spoon to remove the lentils from the water and transfer them to a baking dish.

5. Prepare the remaining ingredients: Finely chop the small onion and dice the smoked fat meat into small cubes. Place the onion and smoked fat meat in the center of the baking dish, surrounded by the cooked lentils.

6. Season and add water: In a separate bowl, mix the boiling water with salt and pepper. Then, pour this mixture over the lentils, onion, and smoked fat meat in the baking dish. The seasonings will infuse the lentils and add flavor to the dish.

7. Bake the lentils: Preheat your oven to a moderate temperature (around 350°F or 180°C). Cover the baking dish with a lid or aluminum foil, and place it in the preheated oven. Bake for four to five hours, or until the lentils are tender and fully cooked.

8. Keep the lentils moist: During the baking process, it is essential to keep the lentils moist. Check the baking dish from time to time and, if needed, add a little water. This will ensure that the lentils cook evenly and retain their tenderness.

9. Serve and enjoy: Once the lentils are baked to perfection, remove the dish from the oven and allow it to cool slightly. Serve the Baked Lentils (Linzen) as a main course or as a side dish alongside your favorite meats or vegetables. The flavors of the smoked fat meat and the seasonings will blend harmoniously with the tender lentils, creating a delightful and satisfying dish.

Similar Lentil Dishes:

- Lentil Soup: Lentils are commonly used to make a hearty and comforting soup. They are simmered with vegetables, herbs, and spices to create a flavorful and nutritious dish.

- Lentil Curry: In Indian cuisine, lentils are often cooked in a spicy curry sauce. The lentils absorb the flavors of the aromatic spices, resulting in a delicious and satisfying dish.

- Lentil Salad: Lentils can also be used to make a refreshing and healthy salad. Combine cooked lentils with fresh vegetables, herbs, and a tangy vinaigrette for a light and flavorful meal.

These are just a few examples of the many ways lentils can be prepared. With their versatility and nutritional benefits, lentils are a fantastic ingredient to incorporate into your cooking repertoire. Enjoy exploring different lentil recipes and discovering the unique flavors they bring to your meals.

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