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 Lentil and Ham Broth Recipe

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Lentil and ham broth

Lentils, ham, wine and sweet smoked paprika (pimenton) are all key ingredients of the style of cuisine in northern Spain. This recipe is infinitely variable and can be made as cheap or as expansive as you like.

KEY POINTS
 Preparation Time: 15 minutes  Cooking Time:  40 minutes
 How Difficult Easy  Freeze?   No
 Servings

Four main meals

LENTIL AND HAM BROTH - COOK'S NOTES
There are literally thousands of variants on this basic recipe, ours tends towards using northern Spain ingredients cooked in a traditional fashion.

First, the base of this recipe is lentils. The best, but unfortunately the most expensive and difficult to buy, lentils are Pardina lentils. produced in the North of Spain these lentils retain their shape well and have a good nutty flavour. But in truth, good old fashioned green lentils from your local supermarket will do the job almost as well.

A word about lentils may be useful here. Although some packets of lentils specify that they should be soaked overnight this is not necessary. Simply cook them for 30 to 40 minutes until they have softened but still have a little bite to them. This applies to all lentils, though dried beans definitely do need soaking for at least four hours (preferably overnight) before cooking.

Talking of beans, dried white beans (soaked as described above) can be substituted for lentils in this recipe. White beans are widely produced in Spain so the resulting meal will be equally authentic as far as northern Spanish cuisine is concerned.

Cooking from this area of Spain does not use complicated methods or ingredients, rather it concentrates on cooking local produce to perfection. This therefore brings us to the use of Serrano ham in this recipe. Any finely sliced ham can be substituted for the Serrano ham but it will not give quite the same taste. If cost is of primary concern however, then substitute what ham you can find at the correct price for your pocket.

Pimenton is used in this recipe and this is more commonly known as Paprika (the sweet variety). Spanish paprika has a slightly more smoked taste than the common paprika found in our supermarkets but both will do the job well.

Finally to the wine used in this recipe. We have used basic Spanish red wine although white wine will do just as well. If wine is not to your taste then substitute it with water or vegetable stock.

The recipe uses peeled tomatoes. The easy way to do this is to nick the tomatoes lightly with a sharp knife and then plunge them in boiling water for a minute. Then into cold water and the skin will almost fall off by itself.

INGREDIENTS

Ingredients

How Much
Green lentils, Pardina ones if you can find them 225g / 8oz
Serrano Ham

100g / 3Żoz

Garlic 4 cloves
Onion 1 medium
Ripe tomatoes 2 large
Sweet (bell) red pepper Half
Carrot 1 medium to large
Red wine 125ml / 4fl oz
Pimenton / paprika (sweet) Quarter teaspoon
Virgin olive oil 6 tablespoons
Salt and pepper To taste

COOKING EQUIPMENT
A large frying pan.

Ingredients for Lentil and Ham Broth

PREPARATION
Chop and tear the Serrano ham into small pieces.
Peel, top and tail the garlic cloves then finely chop.
Peel, top and tail the onion then finely chop.
Peel (see Cook's Notes above) the tomatoes and chop them.
Slice the red pepper into quarters, remove the stalk, seeds and pith then chop into small pieces.
Top and tail the carrot, wash then finely chop.

METHOD
Add the lentils to a pan, pour in some water so that they are well covered and turn the heat to high. When the water begins to boil reduce the heat to medium low and leave the lentils to simmer for thirty minutes.

Drain away the cooking water and keep for later use.

Lentils cooking


Vegetables frying While the lentils are cooking add the olive oil, carrots, red pepper, onions and garlic to a large frying pan on a medium heat. Fry them for 15 minutes until the vegetables have softened.

Add the Serrano ham, stirring it in well and fry for six minutes.


Add the sweet paprika, tomatoes and red wine to the frying pan and cook for a further ten minutes stirring frequently.

Add the cooked lentils the pan and then season with lots of salt and some pepper. Cook for six more minutes.

Broth final cooking


Lentil and ham broth If the mixture starts to dry out then add a small amount of water.

Serve into warmed bowls with lots of chunky bread.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE SPANISH RECIPES

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