Cook 1 pound of beans or lentils in water with a bay leaf. (If you’re cooking lentils, add one peeled, cubed potato to the pot.) Add salt when they begin to soften.
Thinly slice an entire yellow onion and saute over low heat in lots of olive oil until soft and reduced, about 20 minutes. You can also cut in some butter if you like. A clove of garlic would be welcome, too.
Just before serving, add an herb or spice (or a spice mix) to the cooked onions.
Gently add the onion mix to the beans or lentils, and cook for 5 minutes, then transfer to a dish and serve. Not making this a one-pot meal means the flavors stay sharp and distinct.
Lentils with Spiced Onions
Follow the cooking instructions above. Lentils cook in about 20 minutes, unsoaked. A cubed potato will cook in about the same time and potatoes add some body to a pot of lentils. To the onions, add a spoonful of the Moroccan spice blend Ras al Hanout.
Royal Coronas with Onions and Sage
Follow the cooking instructions above. Instead of Ras al Hanout, chop two sprigs of fresh sage and add it to the onions. For a pound, the two sprigs were perfect. It was a lot of sage, but a pound of beans makes over six cups. I think too much sage would ruin things, but you do want the flavor.