By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer Published Dec 11, 2017 at 3:03 PM Photography: shutterstock.com

Want to pull out all the stops this holiday? Some of Milwaukee's most talented chefs have shared their favorite holiday side dish recipes with us. So, throughout the month of December, we'll share their takes on holiday-worthy fare.

Chef Matt Haase of Ardent says lentils are a holiday tradition at his house.

"My wife's family is Slovak in their heritage," he says. "On Christmas it is traditional to make lentil and sauerkraut soup. Usually I put chicken stock and bacon or smoked pork hock in. This year my wife requested that I cook more vegetarian-based things.

"The smoked paprika gives body and helps the fennel and coriander emulate an Italian sausage flavor. I've just reduced the amount of liquid so you can serve it as a side."

Spiced Lentils

2 cups lentils
1/2 onion, diced
1 diced fennel bulb
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon toasted fennel seed, ground
1 teaspoon toasted coriander seed, ground
1 bay leaf

Soak the lentils in water for 10 minutes. Rinse and pick through for stones. Coat the bottom of a pot with a generous layer of extra virgin olive oil. Sweat the onion and fennel until tender. Season with salt. Add garlic and spices and continue to cook for one minute. Add lentils and water to cover. Simmer until lentils are tender. If needed, more water can be added. Re-season.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer

Lori Fredrich (Lo) is an eater, writer, wonderer, bon vivante, traveler, cook, gardener and girlwonder. Born and raised in the Milwaukee area, she has tried to leave many times, but seems to be drawn to this quirky city that smells of beer and alewives.

Some might say that she is a little obsessed with food. Lo would say she is A LOT obsessed with food. After all, she has been cooking, eating and enjoying food for decades and has no plans to retire anytime soon. 

Lo's recipes and writing have been featured in a variety of publications including GO: Airtran Inflight Magazine, Cheese Connoisseur, Cooking Light, Edible Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as on the blog Go Bold with Butter, the web site Wisconsin Cheese Talk, and in the quarterly online magazine Grate. Pair. Share.