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Lentil and Bacon Salad
CATEGORY: Salad
 
This is a great side dish.  Make this ahead and serve it at room temp.  True comfort food!!
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SERVINGS: 10
PREP TIME: 15 minutes
COOK TIME: 55 minutes
INGREDIENTS

7 slices thick-cut bacon, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, diced
8 cups water
1 lb smoked ham hock
1 pound lentils, rinsed, drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
4 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

Dressing
2-3 TBSP Dijon mustard
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil 
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1/3 cup chopped celery

DIRECTIONS
Cook bacon in heavy large skillet over medium heat crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Remove all but 2 TBSP of the bacon renderings from the skillet.  Add onion and sauté until soft, approx. 10 to 15 minutes. Add 8 cups water, ham hock, lentils, 1/4 cup parsley, and 2 teaspoons thyme. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove ham hock (reserve ham hock for future use, or remove meat from the bone and add to the lentils) and transfer to work surface and cool. Drain lentils and cool.
Whisk olive oil, red wine vinegar, and Dijon in bowl. Combine lentils and bacon.  Add to olive oil mixture. Add red onion, celery, remaining 1/4 cup parsley, and remaining 2 teaspoons thyme. Mix. Season with sea salt and pepper.  Serve at room temperature.