Lentil stew

04Mar08

One can’t have too many cookbooks, don’t you agree? Well… I own over 150 cookbooks I think (but then I count the smaller ones too); but that doesn’t keep me from leafing through cookbooks when I am in a bookshop. Even if I feel the overkill more acute than, say, one year ago, I am still tempted to buy a good book when I see one.

So, last week, after putting it off for quite a while, I bought Sam & Sam Clark’s Casa Moro, which is the second in their Moro series of three. All recipes have Spanish, Moroccan or Turkish influences, and the two chefs really know how to make their recipes tasty and to-the-point; the only problem is that you just don’t know which recipe to try first!
Here is my first choice from the book: a lentil stew. Some people hate lentils, but I really like them. Here they are combined with Spanish chorizo, so how can anyone resist?

For a stew for two, start to fry 20 cms of thin chorizo (“the frying kind”) in some olive oil in a stew pan. (I was lucky to stock this my fridge, since I have a Barcelona food connection!) This chorizo is so heavenly, anything with it will taste good, and this lentil stew really got alive from its flavour. Take out the chorizo and keep the orange oil.

In this oil, fry one chopped onion and one carrot with 4 tablespoons of fat bacon dice. The original recipe called for something called tocino, but I figured bacon strips would do, too. After frying for 10 minutes, add 1 chopped clove of garlic; one (fresh) bay leaf; 1 pre-soaked dried nora pepper and 120 to 150 grams of lentils – I used Puy lentils.

Add half a litre of water and let simmer for about 30 minutes. Check for it not to get too dry. The lentils take on the wonderful chorizo and bacon flavours and are transformed to a deep earthy dish, which is great with crusty bread or any kind of flatbread. Before eating, splash on some extra salt and pepper, olive oil and 3 tablespoons of chopped flat leaf parsley.

This book is going to be my new best friend. I have also cooked a cauliflower, chickpea, cured lemon rind and coriander salad; and am planning the lamb mince and potato patties for tonight. Keep you posted!



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