Aragon style lentils – Lentejas aragonesas
As ever I’m on a culinary pilgrimage, this time in the Spanish Pyrenees in the region of Aragon to prepare the toponymous Aragonese lentils – Lentejas a la Aragonesa. I’m eager to reach todays destination, the medieval village of Ainsa as the relentless pre-Pyrenean contours along this huge lake have just about finished me.
In an attempt to determine the most authentic, local version of this dish, I make a few diligent enquires amongst the village folk – and end up settling for the following version. Some of the local cooks included chorizo as well as the morcilla blood sausage, but only ‘si te gusta’ – only if you like it and have got some lying around… I didn’t, but it would indeed be welcome addition and would be added at the end along with the blood sausage.
INGREDIENTS (for two people)
200 g lentils (preferably the Spanish Pardina variety)
1 smallish onion
100 g white mushrooms
a 100g morcilla sausage
(optional) a splash of Spanish anis liquor
(optional) 50 ml Spanish Moscatel wine
salt and pepper
First of all the ham bone is fried in a slug of olive oil, giving it a little colour. Then the chopped onions and leeks go in. After a few minutes of regular stirring over a medium flame, the vegetables will start to colour at which point the tomato goes in. This mixture, known in Spain as the ‘sofrito’ is cooked for a further 15 minutes or so until quite reduced and almost “jammy”. At this point the mushrooms are added and these are fried down for another 10 minutes. Now the lentils are put in, covered with about a litre of water and left to summer for 40 – 50 minutes until soft. Drop in the sliced morcilla for the final 10 minutes of cooking.
With a minute to go, pour in the liquor(s) to taste and check the seasoning. This dish is generally quite soupy, not dry – but this really is a question of preference.
It’s easy to see why the Spanish and in particular the people from Aragon are so enthusiastic about lentils, and with a double portion of them inside me, I feel a little more enthusiastic about tomorrow’s ride through the hills into the neighbouring region of Navarra for yet another genuine local speciality.
This entry was posted in Vegetables-SPAIN