When the weather outside is frightful, Argentinean cuisine can make winter more delightful. While the temperature in the majority of Argentina usually does not plummet much below freezing even during their winter, Argentines will bundle up—the wealthy porteñas in their fur coats and scarves, everyone else in whatever jacket is on hand. A “polar wave,” they say, is on its way.
In homes, families and friends gather together over the nation’s signature winter dish, a delicious, hearty stew. Locro, a stew made with white corn, is one of the most common choices, along with lentil stew, usually containing slices of chorizo (sausage) or chunks of beef. Both can be served as either an appetizer or main entrée.
While in Argentina, I had the pleasure of sampling Argentinean lentil stew, and wanted to replicate the recipe ever since I returned to the States. After monkeying around with the various ingredients, I came up with my own version. Below is the recipe. Enjoy! And, as an Argentinean woman said to me, “¡Comé, sin vergüenza!” (“Eat without shame!”).
Argentinean-style lentil stew (Makes 3-4 servings)
¼ c. dry lentils 1 tsp. garlic powder
Olive oil 2 tsp. paprika
1 tomato, diced ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ onion, diced 1 ½ Tbsp. flour
1/3 c. white wine* salt and pepper, to taste
2 chorizos* 1 c. water
Directions: Let lentils soak overnight the night prior to making stew. The next day, pour lentils and water into a small saucepan on the stove and bring to a boil. While lentils are boiling, lightly coat a medium-sized frying pan with olive oil; add onion and tomato, and sauté over low heat. As onions start to become more transparent, add white wine and spices. Let simmer over low heat. In a separate smaller frying pan, brown the chorizos. When chorizos are cooked all the way through, let cool, then slice into bite-sized pieces. Set off to side. Add water to onion and tomato mixture. Stir in flour. Make sure lentils are soft enough, then remove from heat. Drain off excess water, and then add them to onion and tomato mixture. Add chorizos, and let simmer for 5 minutes over low heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Scoop into bowls and serve with slices of baguette. ¡Buen provecho!
*I suggest using Argentinean wine made with Torrontes grapes, or a similar dry, floral wine. If unavailable, any white wine will do.
*Look for packages of brats or sausages specifically labeled “chorizo” or “Mexican chorizo,” which is slightly spicier than your average brat.