I’ve been wanting to make these for years, since seeing them on Tara’s page. They come from The Art of Living According to Joe Beef by Frédéric Morin and David McMillian with Meredith Erickson – besides Joe Beef, they also own Liverpool House, where a certain pair of cool politicians went for dinner last week. I’ve never managed to go to either, but aspire to someday.
Swapping in lentils for the usual kidney and navy beans is brilliant – split red lentils don’t need soaking, and cook in less than a quarter of the time it takes to bake larger pulses, yet are still a tasty vehicle for the sweetness and tang of the classic syrup-ketchup-vinegar bath they simmer in. I added a bit of barbecue sauce for smokiness, and found mine not as saucy and didn’t require as much cooking — when we reheated the leftovers later they softened even more, but were still tasty-in a baked beans meets refried beans meets lentils sort of way. And lentils and bacon are buddies.
I imagine they’d be equally tasty with some larger, more pebbly brown lentils, which would take a bit longer to cook (40 minutes?) but would remain more robust.
Either way, I’m always happy to find a new version of a quick(ish) pot of beans for dinner.