Yield: 4 servings
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1¼ cups French green Puy lentils, rinsed and picked over for stones
1 large clove garlic, peeled and crushed plus 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 medium dried bay leaf
3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced small
3 medium stalks celery, diced small
1 large red, yellow or orange bell pepper, cored and diced small
¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon chili powder
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup unsweetened ketchup
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
¼ cup water
4 toasted hamburger buns
Add 3 cups of stock, lentils, bay leaf and the 1 crushed garlic clove to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid, reduce heat to low, and simmer lentils for approximately 25 to 30 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from heat, drain lentils and discard bay leaf and crushed garlic clove.
In a medium saucepan, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, onion, celery, bell pepper, salt and pepper. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and lightly caramelized, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the last tablespoon of olive oil, chopped garlic, chili powder and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for one minute to cook off the raw flavor of the tomato paste.
Add the Dijon mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, dark brown sugar, vinegar, fire-roasted tomatoes and water in addition to the drained lentils. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes, until mixture has thickened to sloppy Joe consistency.
Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve on burger buns.
Note: you might want to offer spoons for this recipe – it can get a little sloppy!