In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups water with the bay leaves to a boil.
Add lentils, reduce to medium heat, cover partially with a lid and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the lentils are just cooked and tender but not mushy or falling apart. Drain, remove the bay leaves and set aside.
In a large wide casserole or heavy sauté pan that has a tight fitting lid, heat 4 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.
Add onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes until brown.
Stir and make room in the middle, add remaining olive oil, and rice. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, gently stirring with the browned onions. Don’t let rice brown.
Make room in the middle once again, and add the cooked lentils, cumin, oregano, ground ancho chile, turmeric, coriander and salt. Stir well.
Add the broth or water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until most or all of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is cooked.
Taste and adjust salt. Fluff rice with a fork, and serve. If it is still a bit al dente, add a couple of more tablespoons of water, cook for a few more minutes, and test.