Ají de Lentejas (Spicy Lentil Stew) with Sarsa
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Central American
For the lentils
- 1 cup dried lentils
- 1 tbsp. Olive oil
- 1 small clove garlic crushed
- 4 cups water
For the stew
- 1 large onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tbsp. Olive oil
- ½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley minced
- ½ cup water divided in half
- 1 tsp. Ground chipotle pepper
- A 15 oz. can diced tomatoes or two medium tomatoes, diced
- Salt to taste
For the Sarsa
- 1 medium tomato julienned
- 1 small onion julienned
- ¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley minced
- Juice of 1 lime
You’ll want to make the Sarsa first so that it has time to absorb the flavors of the lime juice. Simply placed all ingredients into a bowl, stir, cover, and refrigerate.
Next, place lentils, olive oil, crushed garlic, and water into a pot. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, and cook about 20 minutes or until tender. Drain, remove garlic, and set aside.
Now, put the rest of the olive oil into a pot, heat, and add the minced garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, until it becomes golden and fragrant, no longer than a minute (do not let it burn). Quickly add in the diced onions, stir well, and cook until the onions start look a little shiny (do not caramelize). Now, add in parsley, ground chipotle, a pinch of salt, and ¼ cup water. Stir again, cook about 1 minute, then add in the tomatoes. Add in the rest of the water, stir, and simmer for about 10 minutes (if using fresh tomatoes, simmer about 15-20 minutes--add a little more water if it looks dry). Add in the lentils, stir, and simmer about 5-10 minutes longer. Adjust salt if needed.
Remove from heat, serve over rice, and top with Sarsa. Enjoy!
If you can find dried Ají pepper feel free to grind it and replace the ground chipotle with it.