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Cozy up to a bowl of flavorful lentils simmered with pork and herbs. Brown lentils are ideal for this dish, as they retain their shape and texture well during long cooking times. Serve with rice if you like or enjoy on its own.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ham steak, diced
4–6 strips bacon, chopped
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups water
1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme, leaves chopped
1 sprig fresh sage, leaves chopped
1 bag (16 ounces) lentils, rinsed
1/3 cup shredded carrot
1 small bunch kale, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Brown or white rice (optional)
Fresh chopped cilantro (optional)

1. In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat and cook ham and bacon until bacon is crispy. Stir in onion and garlic and cook 15 minutes. (If you have a slow cooker with a sauté setting, you can use that instead.)

2. Add pan contents, water, herbs and lentils to a slow cooker. Cook on low 2–4 hours, until beans are soft and done but not mushy.

3. During the last hour of cooking, add carrot. Add kale during the last 15 minutes of cooking. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired. Serve over rice with fresh cilantro sprinkled on top, if desired.

April 2021 Recipe Contest