Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lentejas / Lentils

I'd never had lentils and really had no interest in trying the little legume. In the markets of Spain a wide variety is carried. There are peeled, brown, green, and yellow. Given the obvious popular demand for lentils and that both of my Spanish cookbooks have recipes (and that Shirlee was lobbying for them), I bought a bag. I have prepared two dishes—one from each cookbook—and have decided that lentils will be a regular part of our cruising diet. It's always handy to have a one-pot dish for passages that provides a galley trifecta: it's hot, filling, and tasty.

After researching and cooking two lentil recipes, I've concluded that, like beans, lentils are a catch-all dish. Do you have sausage, ham, roast beef or chicken left over? Dice it and throw it in the pot with some onion and red bell pepper. Spice it with garlic, pimentón (paprika), salt & pepper, and sautée. Then add the lentils and water to cover by 2 inches (5 cm), bring up the heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Done!

Portion Basics:
Lentils: Main course 100 grams per serving; side dish 50 grams per serving
Water: Add enough water to cover with 2 inches (5 cm)

Recipe #1 (from The Cuisines of Spain)

Mise en place
Front Row: Olive oil, sweet pimentón, salt, garlic

Middle Row: Onion, jamón serrano, dry white wine

Back Row: Dried lentils, tomato

  • 7 oz/200 g Lentils
  • 2 Tomatoes peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 7 oz/200 Diced Jamón (ham) Serrano
  • ½ cup/120 ml White Wine
  • ¼ cup/60 ml Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp/8 g Pimentón (sweet or spicy)
  • 1 tsp/ 3 g Salt
  • 1 Whole Head Garlic
Put It Together:
  1. Put the lentils in a pot and add water to cover by 2 inches (5 cm).
  2. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer.
  3. Add the garlic unpeeled.
  4. Simmer for 60 minutes.
  5. During the last 15 minutes of the simmer, heat a frying pan over medium high heat.
  6. In the frying pan, add the olive oil, onion and jamón serrano.
  7. Sauté until the onions are soft.
  8. Add the tomatoes, wine, pimentón, and salt.
  9. Sauté until the flavors come together and it is slightly reduced.
  10. Combine the contents of the frying pan with the lentils in the pot.
  11. Give a good stir.
  12. Serve.
Everything but the lentils simmering

Lentils simmering

Dinner: Lentils, tuna salad on a baguette, and a glass of the local red

Recipe #2 (from Menu del Dia)
I used Iberico ham hocks just because…how often do you get to do that?

Mis en place
Row 1: Lentils, eggs
Row 2: Carrot, potato, pimiento rojos (red bell pepper)
Row 3: Garlic, onion, bay leaf, thyme, & parsley
Row 4: Jamón serrano, Iberico ham hock, bacon
Row 5: Tomato, chorizo


  • 1 oz/30 ml Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 5 oz/150 g Red Bell Pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 9 oz/250 g Carrots
  • 4 oz/110 g Bacon, ¼ inch (7 mm) dice
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, sliced thin
  • 250 g Tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 7 oz/200 g Lentils
  • 4 oz/110 g Chorizo, ¼ inch (7mm) dice
  • 4 oz/110 g Jamón Serrano, ¼ inch (7mm) dice
  • 9 oz/250 g Iberico Ham Hock
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 Thyme Sprig
  • ½ tsp/1.5 g Cumin, ground
  • Parsley, chopped
  • 300 g Potatoes
  • Eggs, one per serving

Put It Together:
  1. Heat olive over low heat in a pot large enough for all ingredients plus 2 cups (475 ml) water.
  2. Add the onion, pepper, and carrot. Cook until onion is soft.
  3. Add bacon and garlic. Cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes and cook 10 more minutes.
  5. Add the lentils, 2 cups (475 ml) water, chroizo, jamón serrano, ham hock, bay leaf, thyme, cumin, and parsley.
  6. Give it a good stir.
  7. Raise the heat and bring to a simmer.
  8. Simmer for 25 minutes. Check occasionally to add water if necessary.
  9. Poach eggs in the simmering pot just prior to serving.
  10. Serve the lentils in a bowl with a poached egg on top.

Dinner is ready


  • Shirlee - Liked It
  • John - Liked It
  • Do Again - Yes
  • Leftovers – Oh yeah, and we had them for lunch the next day

What I'll Do Next Time
As previously stated this is a catch-all dish. This will accommodate what leftovers I have, as well local ingredients. Given a prep and cooking time under 45 minutes, this will become a staple aboard Solstice.

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