Posts Tagged ‘vegetables’

Crisp Brussel Sprouts with Lentils

Crisp Brussel Sprouts with Lentils

This evening for dinner we had lamb and brussel sprouts. My nephew, who is eight, did nothing to hide his dislike for the vegetable. His parents asked him to keep an open mind and despite his protests, insisted that he at the very least, have a little taste before saying he didn’t like brussel sprouts. So he found a little leaf and took a bite and declared that he didn’t like it.

“That little piece you ate was a mint leaf.” She said, and urged him to try again. So he found some of the little cabbage and maintained that he STILL didn’t like them.

Even if I had prepared the brussel sprouts, I have to admit I couldn’t blame him. I remember as an eight year old, I had my own biases against certain vegetables. I despised eggplants and okra. I thought that they were specially created as punishment for naughty kids. I still remember my parents saying I couldn’t leave the table until all the vegetables on my plate were finished. They said to think of all the “starving children”. In my naiveté, I thought, “Well, if there are so many starving children, take the vegetables on my plate and feed it to them!”.

I know there are many who have an aversion to brussel sprouts. But this dish from Porteno Restaurant is delicious. Deep fried brussel sprouts served with lentils and sprigs of mint and dressed with a sticky vincotto dressing – it’s enough to convert anybody (that is, of course, except my nephew).

Porteno’s Crispy Brussel Sprouts with Lentils

serves 10

  • 150 grams small green lentils
  • vegetable oil for deep frying
  • 2 kilos brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 1 1/2 cups mint, loosely packed, chopped
  • 100 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 50 ml fig vincotto
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon (or Hot) mustard
  • salt
  1. Place the lentils in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until just tender, around 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Deep fry the brussel sprouts, around 4 to 5 minutes until the edges crisp and turn golden brown. Drain on absorbent paper. Season with some salt.
  3. Mix the olive oil, fig vincotto, mustard and a little more salt to taste.
  4. To serve, place the brussel sprouts in a large bowl, add the lentils, toss with the chopped mint and dressing.

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Cocido Madrileño

Cocido Madrileño

I’ll be honest, it was a bit of a struggle to come up with a “dish that I would most like to have for my birthday” for this month’s Kulinarya Cooking Club challenge. I have been so busy with the new job and getting everything ready for the sale of our old house, I hardly had anytime to cook.  Luckily, my Mom came to the rescue when she found out I had to make something for January’s theme. She declared that she was going to make Cocido Madrileño for Sunday lunch.  So this month’s Kulinarya Cooking Club dish is brought to you by:

Jen (www.jen-at-work.blogspot.com)
Maribel (http://www.foodgeek.webs.com)

and of course… The Blog Monster.

Growing up, I don’t think I knew any other Sunday activity than to go to my Grandmother’s (Mama) house for Sunday lunch.  The house was constantly full of people from my Mama’s seven children, their spouses, all the grandchildren (fourteen), and other uncles and aunts.  Of course, overseeing the daunting task of feeding us all was my Mama.  I remember there was the “big” table where all the uncles and aunts would sit and the “small” table for all the children.  At a certain age,  the kids would eventually graduate to being able to enjoy sitting at the “big” table depending on who made it to lunch that day and whether there was space for them…  But, at the head of the table was always my Mama who meticulously oversaw the menu.

Cocido Madrileño was one of my favourite dishes that easily fed the throng of hungry people that made it to Sunday lunch.  The dish is essentially a medley of meat and vegetables that is simmered for hours resulting in a rich broth or  caldo, that is served alongside the dish.  In my Mom’s version, the meats she uses includes pork belly, beef ribs, chorizo, chicken and these meatballs or pelota (my favourite). If you can find it, adding some blood sausage or morcilla would be a welcome addition too.   As a kid, I remember the hardest thing about having Cocido for lunch was having to sit at the “small” table and waiting for all the adults to serve before we could have our share.  The wait was pure torture.

So if I had to pick a dish that I’d like to have on my birthday – it would be this one. Because birthdays are all about being with the ones your love and if you’re going to be inviting lots of people to help you celebrate, then you might as well make sure you have enough good food to go around.

Cocido Madrileño

Cocido Madrileño

Cocido Madrileño

Cocido is a very flexible dish so feel free to add or change the meats and vegetables you use depending on your taste or what is available. For example, instead of the beef ribs, you could use beef brisket, instead of the smoked ham hock, substitute a slab of bacon or jamon. My husband and I once went to a famous restaurant in Madrid called La Bola that served Cocido with fideos (Spanish noodles)… you could also add that to the soup as well. You will notice I haven’t given exact quantities to this dish as the quantities depend on how many people you are serving this dish to. I always make sure to make more than I need anyway, but that’s because I like dicing the leftover meat and vegetables to make a hearty soup with the rest of the broth for another day.


  • Pork belly
  • Beef ribs, or chuck
  • Chorizo
  • Smoked ham hock
  • Chicken, cut into pieces
  • Pelota (recipe follows)

Vegetables & Aromatics

  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Peppercorns
  • Bay leaf
  • Garbanzos (Chickpeas), soaked overnight
  • Pumpkin
  • Potatoes, cut into large chunks
  • Carrots, cut into large chunks
  • Stringbeans, tied into little bunches to make it easier to remove from the pot when done
  • Cabbage, cut into eights

Tomato Sauce

  • 2 Cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed


  • 500 grams pork
  • 2 slices white bread, crusts removed, diced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. For the pelota, mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, shape into balls and set aside until ready to use.
  2. Place the meat and chickpeas, (exclude the chicken and the pelota) in a large pot and fill with water, making sure to have enough water to cover the meats. Add the onion, garlic, peppercorns and bayleaf, take the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Once it has reached a boil, turn the heat down to the lowest possible setting and skim the surface of the pot for any scum. The meat will need around two hours to soften.
  3. After two hours, add the chicken, chorizo, pelota, vegetables and continue to simmer another thirty minutes.
  4. For the tomato sauce, saute the onion and garlic in some olive oil, add the diced tomatoes and cook for around 20 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
  5. To serve, separate the meats and slice them. Then remove the vegetables, place them in platters. Serve with the caldo, tomato sauce and warm crusty bread.

For more great Kulinarya Recipes – check here.

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