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Lenticchie in umido – Lentil stew

In many parts of Italy, lentils are served for the New Year’s eve dinner.  The idea behind this is that the lentils represent small coins (lots of them!) and eating them will bring financial fortune in the New Year.  I don’t know if this really works, but you can allways try, certainly in what looks to be another troubled financial year.  Anyway, they taste delicious in this thick stew.

Good quality lentils should not be soaked beforehand.

Cotechino or zampone are traditionally served with the lentils, but you can also serve them with good quality Italian sausages, or even chicken.


  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 150 g pancetta, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 5  thyme sprigs
  • 3 rosemary sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • 350g lentils, rinsed several times in cold water
  • 2 dl red wine
  • 1 litre chicken stock

Heat the olive oil in a casserole. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the onion is soft. Add the pancetta and continue to sauté together until it is lightly golden.

Add the herbs and stir in the tomato purée and lentils. Pour in the wine and allow to bubble until almost completely reduced. Add the stock, pepper and salt and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered with a lid, for 50 minutes.

Remove the lid for the final 15 minutes of cooking to give the liquid time to reduce. so that you obtain a dark and rich sauce. Discard the bay leaves, the rosemary and thyme stalks before serving.


Posted in Cucinone in English, Recipes.

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