This recipe is super easy on a weeknight, and the bacon makes the lentils taste really meaty and smoky. It's great as either a side dish or a main course with rice. I like to use my favorite bacon, Nueske's, which is both salty and sweet. If you don't have mint, parsley is also really nice with this dish as a substitute. —crispywaffle
Pick over and rinse the lentils. Place them in a large saucepan or Dutch oven, and cover with the water. Add the bayleaf. Bring the lentils to a boil, lower heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
When the lentils are cooked, drain them in a colander, reserving about a cupful of the liquid. Discard the bay leaf. Set aside the lentils.
Set the saucepan or Dutch oven back over medium heat. When hot, add the bacon. Fry until crispy and brown. (Don’t drain the oil). Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is soft. Add the cumin and fry until fragrant.
Add the lentils back into the pot and salt and pepper. If the mixture looks dry, stir in some of the reserved liquid. Simmer for another couple minutes.