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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, Nov. 24, 2014

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Matt Haase's spiced lentil recipe turns this versatile legume into a great vegetarian side.
Matt Haase's spiced lentil recipe turns this versatile legume into a great vegetarian side. (Photo: shutterstock.com)

Side-ling up to the holiday table: Matt Haase's spiced lentils

Want to pull out all the stops this holiday? Some of Milwaukee's most talented chefs have shared their favorite holiday side dish recipes with us. So, throughout the month of December, we'll share their takes on holiday-worthy fare.

Chef Matt Haase of Rocket Baby Bakery says lentils are a holiday tradition at his house.

"My wife's family is Slovak in their heritage," he says. "On Christmas it is traditional to make lentil and sauerkraut soup. Usually I put chicken stock and bacon or smoked pork hock in. This year my wife requested that I cook more vegetarian-based things.

"The smoked paprika gives body and helps the fennel and coriander emulate an Italian sausage flavor. I've just reduced the amount of liquid so you can serve it as a side."

Spiced Lentils

2 cups lentils
1/2 onion, diced
1 diced fennel bulb
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon toasted fennel seed, ground
1 teaspoon toasted coriander seed, ground
1 bay leaf

Soak the lentils in water for 10 minutes. Rinse and pick through for stones. Coat the bottom of a pot with a generous layer of extra virgin olive oil. Sweat the onion and fennel until tender. Season with salt. Add garlic and spices and continue to cook for one minute. Add lentils and water to cover. Simmer until lentils are tender. If needed, more water can be added. Re-season.

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