Cast Iron

Slow Braised Lentils with Country Ribs and Vidalia Onions

December 27, 2010
3 Ratings
  • Serves 4 but can be doubled successfully
Author Notes

As I sit here with a foot of snow surrounding my house, I can not go anywhere so I might as well fire up the oven and make my favorite lentil dish. I always have pork in my freezer, from country ribs to butts and shoulders to tenderloins. As a main ingredient to a flavoring component, it compliments everything it is cooked with. I like lentils, I just didn't love them, well, until a friend of mine made these for me at a BBQ I was hosting a few years back. She rattled off an ingredient list and even though I might have forgotten a few, I have tweeked it until I have what I am satisfied with. One of the easiest to make and one of my favorite go to 'BBQ Bean" dishes. It is not overly sweet, spicy or tomatoey like regular baked beans can be, but it has enough flavor to sit besides any BBQ you serve. I am providing 2 different ways to make slow braised in an oven and the other in a slowcooker. —Stockout

What You'll Need
  • Oven Braised Lentils
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 pound country-style ribs with bones
  • 1 large Vidalia onion, 1/4" dice
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups dried lentils, washed and pick thru
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 (5oz) cans or 15 oz of V-8
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup dark molasses
  • 1 small dried chili (or more to taste)
  • Slow-Cooker Lentils
  • Same ingredient list as above method but....
  • If you have hard water, soak the lentils for at least 1-2 hours
  1. Oven Braised Lentils
  2. In Dutch oven or large cast iron braiser, heat canola oil until it ripples. Add pork ribs and brown for 4 minutes on all sides. Remove and reserve.
  3. Add Vidalias and saute until edges a slightly browned. Add lentils, tomato paste and saute until everything is coated evenly and tomato paste starts to brown.
  4. Add water, V-8, brown sugar, mustard, salt and chili. Stir and add pork, nestling it in amongst the lentils.
  5. Cover and bake on 300F for at least 3 hours.
  6. Uncover and check the liquid level and if the ribs are pulling away from the bones. Taste a forkful of lentils for doneness. They should be firm and not mushy but easily chew when you bite into them.
  7. If the lentil are near done, continue baking (uncovered) until all the liquid has evaporated and small bubbles appear around the edges (usually 20 minutes more). The lentils will continue to soak up liquid as they cool and if you make them the day before they will be perfect.
  8. With 2 forks, pull the pork into shreds, throw away the bones and add pork back into the lentils.
  9. Adjust seasonings, and can add hot sauce if desired.
  1. Slow-Cooker Lentils
  2. Saute ribs in oil until browned, add onions and continue to saute until onions are soft. Add water ti deglaze the pan.
  3. Add all the other ingredients plus ribs and onions to slow cooker.
  4. Set on low for 8 hours.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Midge
  • Lizthechef
  • Sagegreen
  • Stockout

5 Reviews

Midge January 1, 2011
What a great photo!
Lizthechef December 27, 2010
I can only echo Sagegreen here - and thank you for providing two ways to prepare your recipe. I need to be educated re my slow-cooker, as I only use it for a handful of recipes.
Stockout December 27, 2010
There are certain ingredients I wouldn't go near a slow cooker with, but I was surprised with the lentils. They stay firm (and not mushy at all) but have a good bite to them. If you were to make regular beans in the slow cooker you must place a piece of foil right on top of them, then place the lid on, or they will take 2 days to cook. The lentils behave themselves very well, even with the acid of the V-8. I have to confess, if I stovetop lentils in a stockpot they turn to mush on me, so slow braising is the only way I can make them. Another way to cook them is with a really good piece of Mortadella (and I mean a GOOD mortadella), cubed and cooked the same way, no spices needed. Just adjust salt & pepper after.
Sagegreen December 27, 2010
Love your photo!!! And the recipe sounds wonderful, too.
Stockout December 27, 2010
Thanks Sagegreen and congrats on your win. I am trying those latkes for New Years Day with some smoked salmon dip I usually serve with brown bread. They look wonderful.