To cook lentils, simply pick over to remove debris or shriveled lentils, rinse, and drain.
Older lentils will take longer to cook because they have lost more moisture. Do not mix newly-purchased lentils with old ones. They will cook unevenly.
Bring 8 cups of water to a simmer.
Add 1 cup rinsed lentils
1/2 roma tomato, cut in half
1/2 yellow onion, cut in half
1 tsp minced garlic
several twists of a pepper mill
1 bay leaf
1-2 TBSP of olive oil
1 1/2 cups small elbow macaroni
Simmer for 20 min with the lid tilted to allow steam to escape. Lentils should be al dente.
Then add macaroni. Simmer an additional 10 min. until macaroni and lentils are tender.
Fish out the bay leaf. You can either eat the onion and tomato or fish them out too.
Add salt to taste after lentils and macaroni have finished cooking. Salt added to the cooking water will toughen the beans so wait until they’re done to add salt.
For Hoppin’ John, follow the above recipe only do not add the macaroni. Hoppin’ John is wonderful served over Basmati rice.