Put the lentils with the bay leaves into a pan and cover with cold water. Bring them to a rapid simmer and then discard the black water and refill with more cold water just above the line of the lentils. Simmer gently for half an hour, adding a little more water if they appear to need it. You will know when they are ready by spooning a few into your mouth. They should hold their own shape and have a little bite to them, but not be resistant in the centre.
In the meantime, peel the shallots, carrots and garlic and de-string the celery. Chop all of these into a teeny-weeny fine dice. Take the rind off the bacon, if it exists, and chop the bacon into thin slivers.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and get the bacon off to a head start.
When it just begins to colour, add the vegetables and cook until they are totally soft and the shallot just begins to take on a golden appearance. Add the chanterelles now. The objective here is to no more than wilt these fragile things and impart their delicate mossy taste without hammering them.
When the lentils are done, put them in a sieve and drain them. Add them back to the pan and stir in the bacon and mushroom mixture. Check the seasoning, adding a little salt and some black pepper. With your thumb covering most of the bottle exit, splash a little red wine vinegar (two to three shakes) over the lentils and cook on a low heat for a further 5 minutes. Add a little extra virgin olive oil and the chopped parsley or tarragon, depending on what is available.
Serve this earthy dish with the chosen mainstay, although it is also delicious eaten on its own