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.
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!