No ordinary Joes.
1. Coarsely chop 1 large yellow onion and 3 pickled peppers (cherry, Peppadew), flicking away any seeds (hold on to the jar).
2. In a large Dutch oven, heat ¼ cup olive oil over medium. Add the onion and peppers, season with salt, and cook until softened and starting to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon chili powder and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon pickled pepper brine and stir, scraping up browned bits, until nearly evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes.
3. Add all this stuff: 4 cups water, 1 cup red lentils, ½ cup ketchup, 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar, 1 tablespoon lowsodium soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon ground black pepper. Season liberally with salt.
4. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring to unstick any lentils, until the lentils are tender and start to fall apart, 20 to 25 minutes. If you want less slop, keep simmering until it’s as thick as you want. If the mixture looks dry and the lentils aren’t done yet, add more water. (Keeps for up to 4 days in the fridge. Rewarm with water to loosen.)
5. Eat the sloppy lentils—excuse me, Lennys—on toasted burger buns with more sliced pickled peppers.
• For crunch, top with Fritos or fried onions.
• For hacked baked beans, swap the lentils for 2 undrained cans of pink, pinto, or navy beans.
• Skip the bun and it’s a great stew all on its own.
“Reprinted from I Dream of Dinner. Copyright © 2022 by Alexandra Slagle. Photographs copyright © 2022 by Mark Weinberg. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.”
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