Food & Drink

In The Kitchen: Homemade lentils with pancetta and chicharron

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Lately, I’ve been finding myself spending more and more time in the kitchen. I attribute this to my desire to reconnect with my Latin roots and spend more time bonding with my mother, an extremely talented cook.

I remember growing up, my mother would always prepare the most delicious, traditional Nicaraguan dishes. She would always find a way to reduce the amount of sodium and fat that these dishes typically contain – without compromising flavor.

I’d like to think of my mother’s style of cooking as Nuevo Latino cuisine – the exciting fusion of traditional Latin flavors with emerging global food trends, while keeping health a priority.

Her lentils with chicharron is the perfect example of her bold, savory, and health-conscious culinary style, one I’m hoping to inherit.

LENTILS WITH CHICHARRON

Ingredients:

5 cups water

2-3 vegetable bouillon cubes – I try to watch my sodium intake so generally stick to 2 cubes

1 1/2 cups of organic green lentils (I use the PC Organic Brand available at Superstores)

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp paprika

2 bay leaves

1 finely diced carrot

1 finely diced celery stalk

1 finely diced onion

4 cloves of garlic

1 finely diced jalapeño

2 finely diced tomatoes

1/2 cup pancetta

1/2 cup chicharron – cut up into smaller pieces

Directions:

In one pot, bring the water to a boil. Add your chicken bouillon cubes & lentils.
In a separate pan, combine your pancetta, all your vegetables – except for your tomatoes – and add your spices and jalapeño. Cook for approx. 5 minutes. Add your pan ingredients to your lentils. Add in your diced tomatoes and 2 bay leaves. Cook (stirring occasionally) for 15 minutes on medium-high. Do not overcook or else you’ll end up with porridge. Serve warm in a bowl with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of chicharron! I like to throw my chicharron in the oven for a few minutes (2 min) to add an EXTRA bit of crunch! Top with parsley! This recipe makes 6-8 servings.

Enjoy!

Blanca Blandon
Blanca is a graduate from BCIT’s Broadcast Media and Online Journalism program. Blanca was born in Nicaragua, and was raised on the West Coast. Throughout the years, she has developed an eclectic style and has merged her love of culture, fashion, and food to create her blog: feastingbeauty.com. Blanca also works as a TV producer and travel host. A “social media queen”, Blanca believes in the power of the internet and its ability to connect and compel. Blanca is bilingual in Spanish and English and is currently learning Portugese.
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