New Year’s Lentils
Lentils are part of the legume family like beans and one of the oldest known crops dating back to 11,000 BC. They come in various colors and are produced from Australia to Canada and especially popular in South Asia. Italians like my mother always made these on New Years Day. It is said to bring good luck and is very traditional. Even more so if you could afford to add sausage, since meat was generally reserved for holidays and special occasions. Here is the simplest and easiest recipe that is ready in less than a half hour.
- 1/2 Pound Lentils
- Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper
- 1/2 Cup chopped onions, celery and carrots
- 3 Cloves of crushed garlic
- Half pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1/2 Dry Bay Leaf
In a pot heat the olive oil with the crushed garlic cloves. After a few minutes add in the onions, celery and carrots along with a mere half pinch of red pepper flakes. Pour in the lentils, put in a bay leaf, and cover with about 1.5″ of water above the lentils. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes until they are the desired tenderness. Lentils do not take as long to cook as dry beans, so you can easily overcook them to mush if they simmer more than 30 minutes.
My family was Sicilian and they had the tradition of making sausage for New Years. You can always cook your sausage and add them to this dish as well.