This super-savory dish hits all the right notes, even if it's not the prettiest thing I've ever made. The bottom layer combines sweet caramelized onions, smoky bacon, earthy lentils, and golden raisins for a little pop. This takes a while to make mostly because onions take for-ev-er to caramelize properly, but it's so worth it! The bacon is awesome, but you could definitely skip it for an all-vegetarian version (maybe add some smoked paprika?) Tangy baked feta goes on top - I haven't made feta this way before, and it really transforms the ingredient! Make sure you buy feta in a block, rather than the pre-crumbled type, for this to work properly.
Bacon-Onion Lentils with Baked Feta (adapted from Nigel Slater's Eat)
For the lentils:
2 yellow onions, sliced
1 cup lentils de Puy or small green lentils
3 slices bacon, cut into small squares
1/4 cup golden raisins
For the baked feta:
1 block feta (cut in half if large)
A few sprigs fresh thyme
Aleppo chili flakes
To serve: lemon wedges
1. Melt a big cube of butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring often and reducing heat as needed, until nicely caramelized (30-45 minutes). When the onions are getting close, push them to the side of the skillet and add the bacon pieces, cooking until crispy. Then add the raisins and stir everything together. Cool for a few more minutes to combine everything.
2. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil, and add a generous pinch of salt. Rinse the lentils well, and add to the pot. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until tender, 30 minutes or so. Drain and add to the onion mixture. Stir everything to combine.
3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil. Spray with oil. Lay the feta in the middle, and top with the sprigs of thyme. Drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with chili flakes. Fold up the edges of the foil around the cheese. Press or crimp the edges together. When the onions/lentils have about 10 minutes remaining, pop the feta in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes.
4. To serve, scoop the lentil mixture into bowls and top with the baked feta. Squeeze a little lemon juice over each portion.