“Lentejas” / Lentil Stew

I would like to thank Spain for teaching me to love lentils and beans. Specifically my mother-in-law. She always makes her lentil stew with some slices of chorizo sausage in; maybe about 7 small slices for a big pressure-cooker full of stew. This is pretty tame for a Spanish mama. Most lentil stews have half a pig floating in them. Blood sausage, chorizo, bits of pork fat known as tocino, and so on.

I personally do not like eating the chorizo, though it does impart a delicious kind of barbecuey flavour to the stew. This blog, however, is a celebration of the good things that come from the earth, not the good creatures which walk on it, so here is a version suitable for vegetarians, and anyone just watching their fat intake. It is a good, hearty, filling meal with plenty of fibre, and perfect for weight loss!

Here are some different kinds of lentils; in Spain they use the larger green ones (bottom) I use the smaller brown ones at the top, because they seem more common here;  this stew is not traditionally done with the red lentils in the middle.

So… pre-soak the lentils overnight; it’s not necessary but it gives them a headstart, and it would definitely be advisable if you use the larger green ones.  I do my stews in a slow cooker, so I do the prep. for 15 minutes in the morning and then leave it on high or medium all day.

Lentil Stew

Blend the following in a tabletop blender:

  • 1 onion
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1-2 celery stalks
  • 4 sundried tomatoes 
  • half a litre of water

Once blended, make up to 1.5 litres, Pour over about 7 handfuls of (ideally pre-soaked) lentils, and add: 

  • 2-3 carrots, chopped bite-size ,  or  2 big handfuls of frozen baby carrots
  • 1 medium to large potato, chopped, bite-size
  • 1 Tablespoon turmeric
  • 1-2 bayleaves
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 Tablespoons tomato puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable bouillon powder (optional)

Cover, and leave on high for 6-8 hours.

Here is the finished result. Ooooh it just warms the cockles of me heart!


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