Lentils and collards with bacon*

As this year’s collard greens are just beginning to look like collards, I broke out some of last year’s to make dinner.  I bought scallops from a friend whose husband is a commercial scalloper, and I planned to pan-fry them in a little butter.  To go with them, I made a stewy combination of the collards, lentils, and some bacon ends.

Last fall, I froze the collards after parboiling them, so they were partially cooked, and you can use any ordinary frozen collards in this recipe.  If you want to use fresh collards, give them a steam, a boil, or a microwave to soften them before you use them — otherwise they may come out leathery.

Lentils and Collards with Bacon

3-4 strips bacon
1 large onion, chopped
6-8 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups frozen collard greens (or fresh, parpoiled or microwaved until soft)
1 cup lentils
1 cup red wine
1 cup chicken or meat stock
salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce to taste

1. In a pan big enough to hold everything, cook the bacon over low heat until most of the fat has cooked out and it is starting to crisp. Remove the bacon and drain it on paper towels. Take all but a couple teaspoons of the bacon fat out of the pan.

2. Add the onions and garlic to the bacon fat and cook, stirring often, until the onion wilts, about 5-8 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the bacon. Add the collard greens, lentils, and bacon to the pan and continue cooking a couple of minutes.

3. Turn the heat up to medium and add the wine. When it has mostly evaporated, add the stock and enough water to cover the ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil, turn the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer until the lentils are soft, 20-30 minutes. As they cook, keep checking to see that there’s enough liquid. If they look dry, add more water or stock.

4. Season with salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce.