Lentil stew for a rainy day

This is a great option for a winter dish, but it is so tasty that I also like to make it on a gloomy spring day in the Netherlands. The smell of this dish will make you salivate, and the juicy lentils will create just that comfort that you are looking for on a cold and rainy day. Serve the lentil stew in bowls with enough bread to dip, and have some fresh hummus with the bread.
Any leftovers can be used for lunch the next day – the flavors will be even better!

Ingredients (serves 3-4)

  • olive oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 1 tablespoon pimentón powder (smoked paprika powder, this is the star of this dish so don’t leave it out!)
  • 1 fennel bulb, hard core removed & chopped up in pieces of 2cm
  • 2x400gr canned brown lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, cut the onion in two pieces
  • 3 plum tomatoes, core removed but left whole
  • 3 carrots, peeled if the skin looks very dry, and cut into pieces of 2cm
  • 3 medium boiling potatoes (‘vastkokend’), peeled and cut into 2cm pieces
  • salt & pepper
  • sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar if you don’t have this)
  • fresh parsley or coriander
  • fresh bread & hummus
    Duration: 30-40 minutes

Preparations

  • Add a generous amount of olive oil to a large pot and heat it over medium heat
  • Add the garlic, pimentón powder and fennel and cook this 2-3 min over medium heat (careful that the garlic does not burn. If this happens, please start again as you don’t want the burned garlic flavor in your stew)
  • Add the lentils, onion, tomatoes, and enough water to just cover the lentils and bring to a boil. Add 1/2 a teaspoon of salt to the water.
  • After the water has been softly boiling for 5 minutes, add the carrot and potato pieces to the pot. If there is not enough water left in the pan, add a little bit more until the veggies are just covered, and let it softly simmer until the potatoes are cooked, probably ~20 minutes. Do not overcook the lentils, as you will want to keep the lovely bite.
  • When the potatoes are cooked, take the tomatoes and onion halves out of the pan, using a slotted spoon. Transfer the tomatoes and onion into a blender, and puree them. Put the puree back into the stew, and stir.
  • Turn off the heat and now it’s time to season the stew with some black pepper and salt. Add a splash of the sherry vinegar to add freshness to the dish.
  • Place generous ladles of the stew in bowls and garnish with the chopped fresh herbs. Serve with chunks of fresh bread & hummus – enjoy!

What to drink with this

The flavors of this dish bring me immediately back to Madrid, Spain, so I chose to drink a Tempranillo from the Ribeira del Duero region. The strong tannin structure and the 5 months on oak barrels gives the wine enough vanilla tones and body to deal with the pimentón flavor and umami in this hearty dish.

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