When I first began this project, I scoured the internet for lentil recipes, creating a substantial stack of pulse possibilities. They were quickly forgotten, however, since at the time I was concerned about quantity and frankly many of them would have made it difficult to consume the required lentil quota for each meal. This recipe is not one of those, but it became forgotten in the stack all the same. Recently, I pulled out the dusty tome and remembered how exciting some of them looked, and while I have had a blast throwing together whatever happens to be in my kitchen I figured I would take a little break and try some of these fun-looking recipes while I recharge my creative engines. This recipe is essentially just a legume-swap: an American classic (Barbecue Baked Beans) where the beans have been swapped for lentils. While the cooking time adds up to over an hour, there is very little prep work that needs to be done or attention that needs to be paid while cooking, so it is a great side-dish if you are cooking a main course that requires your utmost concentration.
Fun fact regarding the liquid smoke: I recall an episode Alton Brown’s Good Eats where he made homemade liquid smoke! He started a small fire with some fragrant wood chips, cedar I think, in the base of a chimenea, and on the top he placed a Bundt pan over the spout. Finally, he put a metal pie dish, upside-down, on top of the pan and put a bag of ice on top. As the smoke comes out, it condenses on the cold pan and runs down into the bottom of the Bundt pan. At the end, you just funnel it into an eye-dropper and voila! liquid smoke. Sadly, I have none of those things, but if I did I would totally make my own liquid smoke.
Barbecue Baked Lentils
2-1/3 cups lentils, rinsed
5 cups water
1/2 cup molasses
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp vinager
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tsp dry mustard (or 1 Tsp Dijon mustard)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
16 oz. tomato sauce
2 Tsp minced onions
1/4 tsp liquid smoke, optional (I didn’t have any, but it would have been cool if I had.)
Add lentils to the water, bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes or until tender but whole.
Add molasses, brown sugar, vinegar, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, onions and liquid smoke to the cooked lentils, stirring to combine.
Move mixture to large glass baking dish and bake at 350F for 45 minutes.
Enjoy! (Optionally, a little grated cheese on top works wonders.)