Wednesday, October 29, 2008

El Potaje de Lentejas de Miriam (Lentil Soup)

Miriam, our very first teacher - the one who taught us how to make croquetas back in February - once again shared her culinary skills with us. This time we made Potaje de Lentejas – which was perfect for Saturday’s stormy weather.

The fact that Miriam was the one who taught us how to make this was inevitable, as she is in charge every New Year’s Eve for making lentil soup in order to observe the New Year’s tradition – eating lentil soup on New Year’s Eve will bring you prosperity the following year. So amidst all the other “traditions”, the lentil soup is a mainstay.

This time we met at her daughter’s house and then followed the “class” by having a great dinner – Miriam’s sister made a pork loin. (By the way, that same sister, her name is Nora, will be teaching us how to make Turkey Fricassee some time next year.) Accompanied by some hearty red wine, a salad and good friends, it was delicious!

We had a great time as always, sharing stories of Miriam and her sisters’ travels all over the world, reminiscing about early days in Miami, and just laughing and being silly. It was a wonderful afternoon.


14 oz. bag of lentils
1 medium green pepper - chunked
8 cups of water
1 medium onion – minced
5 cloves of garlic - minced
2 carrots – peeled and sliced
1 packet or cube of chicken bouillon
1 packet of Sazon Goya – the one with Coriander and Annatto (this can be replaced with any Latin seasoning with coriander)

1 chorizo – sliced
2 small smoked ham shanks
3 tbsp olive oil
5 tbsp tomato sauce
Salt to taste


This recipe makes approximately 10 hearty servings.
  1. Sort through the dry lentils to remove foreign objects.
  2. Rinse the lentils.
  3. Add lentils and peppers to the water.
  4. Mince the onions and garlic together and add paste to the lentils.
  5. Add everything except the salt to the lentils and water.
  6. Set on high until it comes to a boil.
  7. Taste the liquid and add salt to taste.
  8. Set the temperature to Medium-Low. Cover and cook for 30-40 minutes.
  • NOTE: Some lentils absorb more water then others and you may want to add more water to get it to your preferred consistency as some like it soupier than others.
  1. Once it has cooked and thickened, take out the ham shanks.
  1. Strip the meat, shred it and put back into the soup. Stir well.
  • NOTE: The green peppers are cut into chunks so they can be removed if desired. Their flavor may overpower the lentils if the soup is stored for later use.
  1. Take off heat.

  • NOTE: The longer the soup sits, the more it will thicken.

  • Serve as soup or over rice.

  • ¡Buen provecho!