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Lentil and Pumpkin Stew With Roasted Garlic

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“(Potaje De Lentejas y Calabaza) This nourishing potaje flavored with fresh and roasted garlic makes a terrific vegetarian entree. If you prefer it more full-bodied, however, use chicken broth instead of water and feel free to add a handful of chopped pancetta to the sofrito in step 4. You can serve the dish as a soupy first course or over rice. Adapted from "The New Spanish Table" cookbook.”
READY IN:
1hr 30mins
SERVES:
4-6
UNITS:
US

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400º.
  2. Cut the top off the head of garlic and discard. Brush the cut edge of the garlic with olive oil, place it in a small baking dish, and bake until soft, 25-30 minutes. When the garlic is cool enough to handle, place it in a double layer of cheesecloth along with the onion halves, thyme, and bay leaf and tie the cheesecloth shut.
  3. Place the lentils in a 4-quart pot, add 8 cups water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Skim any foam off the surface, then add the cheesecloth bag, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, half of the Italian peppers, and half of the tomatoes. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the pumpkin and cook until it is almost tender, 20 minutes.
  4. While the lentils are cooking, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the chopped onion and remaining Italian pepper and cook, stirring, until soft but not browned, 5-7 minutes. Add the paprika and the remaining tomato and cook until the tomato is softened and reduced, 5 minutes. Add the onion mixture to the lentils. If the lentils seem too thick, add some or all of the remaining water (or broth). Season the lentils with salt and black pepper to taste and simmer until the lentils and pumpkin are very soft, about 10 minutes longer (it's all right if the pumpkin begins to disintegrate a bit).
  5. Remove the cheesecloth bag from the lentils and discard all but the garlic head. Squeeze the flesh from the roasted garlic and chop it finely or coarsely mash with a fork. Place the raw minced garlic, the parsley, saffron, and a small pinch of salt in a mortar and, using a pestle, mash them into a paste. Add the roasted garlic and mash until combined. Add 2 tablespoons very hot water to the mortar and let sit for 2-3 minutes. Stir the garlic mixture into the lentils. Add the vinegar. Taste for seasonings, adding more salt, pepper and/or vinegar as necessary. Let the lentils cool for 5-10 minutes, then serve.

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