Thursday, August 28, 2008

Potaje de Lentejas Con Hueso de Puerco (Lentil Pork Bone Stew)

Before I begin this is not my families recipe, but it is still a pretty good Cuban style Lentil Stew. This recipe is from a book called "Delicias de la Mesa - Manual de Cocina y Repostería" written by " Miss María Antonieta Reyes Gavilán and Moenck" edited in Havana, Cuba in 1925. I know pretty old I guess, it is displayed as close to it's original format in Spanish at (I love that website it is all in Spanish unfortunately for those whom don't comprehend it, but the website is dedicated to cultural and historical studies of Cuba in order to preserve the history of Cuba and share it with others, it is politically neutral and does not share opinions so yeah, but we all still know Castro sucks and he should rot in hell along with Cuba's communist government that destroyed the Island... anyways let's not get off subject)

So I decided to cook this because I had some pork bones sitting in the freezer that I had neglected to use, and when I bumped into the recipe I was like, awesome I have everything I need, and I need to make some Lentils haven't had those in awhile, plus I need something nutritious and filling so I'll make a big pot of this and tomorrow when I come from college I'll have something filling and strengthening to eat. So without further explanation here is the recipe...

-2 cups Lentils
-water (enough to submerge 2 inches)
-2 pounds pork bone (I used like 4 medium sized chunks of pork bone with fat and some meat)
-1 whole onion peeled and very finely minced
-1/2 a head of garlic (about 6 large cloves or 10 small ones) peeled mashed to a paste in a mortar or pestle or finely minced through a garlic press
-1/4 of a large bunch of parsley only the NO STEMS only the leafy parts, washed very finely mince
-2 carrots cut into rounds
-1 bay leaf
-1 teaspoons ground cumin
-1 teaspoon saffron toasted and ground to a powder (in a mortar) or you can use "Bijol" which is cheaper
-1 1/2 teaspoons salt more or less to taste
-1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
-Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

(1)Wash pork bones, then wash lentils well and drain, place in a large pot with sliced carrot, add water, bring to a boil on high, stir, cover and simmer on low for about 40 minutes
(2)While lentils are boiling heat generous amount of olive oil in a medium pan, on medium high heat, when oil is hot enough add minced onions saute for 5 minutes until translucent, add parsley and garlic, stir and cook down for another 3 minutes, add the bay leaf, cumin, and saffron, stir well and cook another 1 minutes
(3)Now ladle into the pan some of the lentils with liquid and all, stir well bring to boil on high, and reduce and stir and mash with a large spoon the beans (this will help thicken the stew)
(4)Dump it all into the large pot, stir well, add salt and pepper to taste, stir in carrots, bring back to a boil and then cover and simmer on low 20 minutes until carrot is tender.
(5)Your done pretty basic and easy dish. We usually eat these stews with steamed white rice (usually steamed with a bit of olive oil and salt) and a raw salad or even some crusty bread instead of rice.

P.S. The original recipe posted in Spanish doesn't give measurements or anything like that it is written in a few sentences in paragraph form, Cuban cooking doesn't really use any science or measurement, you just use your own judgement and add things to taste and kinda know when it's just right, these are just the ratios I prefer but everything is eyeballed, a good Cuban cook just knows, it's like a grandmothers recipe she will be like "a little bit of this and a some of that" and my grandmother doesn't measure she just knows, same here with me ha ha.