The lentil is Lens culinaris, an edible legume – which means its seeds grow in pods.
The seeds are lens-shaped from whence it gets its name – meaning little lens.
The Polish is soczewica and is also from a word meaning a small lens.
It belongs to the bean family and these seeds are classed as pulses – dry seeds for consumption.
Lentils originated in the Near East and Central Asia and are the oldest pulses and among the earliest crops domesticated in the Old World.
The first evidence of pulses comes from 11,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent, a region in the Middle East which was home to some of the earliest human civilizations.
They are mentioned in the Bible – Genesis 25:29-34 – when Esau gives up his birthright to Jacob for a mess of pottage.
” …let me eat the red soup … then Jacob gave him bread and lentil soup …“
Figures for 2016 show the top four countries for lentil production as:
- United States of America
I bought a packet of whole allspice (ziele angielskie) and this recipe was on the back.
I think it is related to Breton beans – a popular Polish recipe.
200g – 250g dried lentils
100g smoked bacon – chopped into small squares.
200g Polish sausage (I used Toruńska) – sliced
2 onions – chopped
3 cloves of garlic – sliced
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
200 ml of chicken stock (can be from a cube or concentrate)
5 grains of allspice
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon of sweet paprika (not smoked)
1 teaspoon of Italian herbs
Sunflower oil for frying
Ground black pepper
(salt might not be needed because of the bacon and sausage)
Yoghurt and chopped flat-leaved parsley to serve
Pre-heat the oven to GM3 – 160°C
Cook the lentils in water until they are soft.
Use a sieve to remove some of the excess water – if any.
Fry up the bacon and the onions and garlic.
In a jug or bowl mix the stock, paprika, herbs and pepper.
Get an oven proof dish with a lid and add the lentils, fried bacon, onions and garlic.
Add the tomatoes and the stock mixture.
Add the sliced sausage, the bay leaves and allspice and mix all together thouroughly.
Put the lid on the dish and place into the oven.
Cook for 45 -60 minutes.
Serve garnished with flat – leafed parsley or this and a dollop of plain yoghurt or soured cream as well.
Here served in Royal Doulton – Carnation (1982 – 1998) dishes.