GCC: Menu 27 - Spanish Lentils

It felt good to be back in the kitchen this weekend.  First order of business was taking care of lunch and what better way to do that then serve our gutsy cook option for this week, which was Spanish Lentils.

I could go on about how lentils is a pulse and not a grain and all that jazz, but then I wrote about it in our Gutsy Cook pre-cook post and you can read about it here.

This recipe was super easy to do, the only thing I found difficult was to get the lentils to be soft enough for the dish.  I cooked them as noted, but after 40 minutes they were still hard, not even to “al dente” stage, but “hard”.  So, I cooked them an extra 15 minutes and they still did not reached the right stage.  I was afraid of cooking them more, since they still had to be cooked with the other ingredients, so I took them out and hoped for the best.

The next steps are pretty easy, and while I tried to stay true to the recipe, I did make a couple of changes.  I used pancetta instead of the slab of bacon.  I did not have any rusty bread around, so I used one cup of bread and panko crumbs (half a cup of each) my reasoning was that you end up making bread crumps with the toasted slide of bread anyways, and I did not feel like brining out the food processor.  Another changed was using chicken stock instead of vegetable stock.

When I added the lentils, it was pretty dry, so I added another cup of stock and let it cook down.  The last cup helped the lentils come to the right consistency, so I’m thinking that next time (because we loved the end results) I’m going to up the amount of liquid when cooking the lentil to about 8 cups, instead of the 4 that I used to make up the 1 litter called in the recipe.

The final verdicts were all around impressive.  The little man ate two servings, and Tom totally had three.  The best part is that today we warmed them up again and had them for lunch and they were even better.

Adapted from The Illustrated Kitchen Bible

  • 1 pound (450g) brown lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 3 oz (85g) smoked chorizo, thickly sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 small slice rustic bread – 1 cup of bread crumps and panko
  • Salt
  • 3 oz (85g) slab bacon, thickly sliced or pancetta
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ½ cup vegetable chicken stock 

Combine the lentils, chorizo, and bay leaves in a large saucepan with 1 quart (1 liter) 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 35-40 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook for 2–3 minutes, stirring frequently, or until softened but not browned. Remove from the pan and reserve. Add the bread (or the bread crumbs) to the pan and fry over medium heat until lightly browned on both sides. Combine the bread and garlic in a food processor and process to produce coarse crumbs. Season with salt. Set the crumbs aside. (If using my method of bread crums, you can skip the food processor step),

Add the remaining oil to the frying pan. Add the bacon (or pancetta) and cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes, until browned. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes more, until the onion is tender. Sprinkle with the flour and paprika and stir well. Stir in the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes. Keep warm.

Drain the lentils and return to the saucepan. Stir in the garlic crumbs and the bacon mixture. Reheat, adding more stock if needed to moisten the lentils. Transfer to a serving dish and serve hot.

To check out the other Gutsy Cooks creations remember to visit them in their individual blogs.  Or how about joining us every week to some Gutsy cooking?