Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Spanish-Style Lentil Stew with Red Pepper and Ham

And thus were finished the last of the Christmas ham leftovers.

Like many Mediterranean cuisines, ham is popular in Spanish food, as are sweet red peppers.  Here I rounded out the theme by seasoning with pimentón, which is Spanish sweet smoked paprika.  Pimentón is not available in Greenfield so I got mine via mail order.  If you don't have any, try substituting a combination of regular paprika and chili powder.  It's not the same, but it's passable.

Olive oil
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
2 cups dry lentils
6+ cups chicken stock
3 red bell peppers, diced
2-3 cups diced cooked ham
1 tsp pimentón
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a little olive oil in a soup pot.  Add the garlic and onion and saute over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes.  Add the lentils and stock.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.  About 15 minutes into the lentil cooking time, add the red peppers, ham, and pimentón.  The peppers will cook until they nearly melt into the stew, in a good way, but if you like them crisper, wait and add them at the very end. When the lentils are nice and tender, taste the stew and add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves about 6.

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