Green Lentils are a Brazilian New Year tradition, and many of us make sure our first meal of the year is a nice bowl of lentils, in a salad, lentil rice (arroz de lentilha), or as a stew.
It is believed that lentils bring good luck, prosperity and fortune, and wether this is true or not, I don’t know a lot of Brazilians willing to skip their New Year lentilha da sorte (lentils of luck). Rumor has it that this tradition was brought to Brazil by Italian immigrants, who believe Lenticchie a capodanno, franchi tutto l´anno (Lentils on New Year, Money All Year). Money all year!!!? Sign me up!!!
Another superstition we have is to not eat any poultry New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. Many Brazilians choose to only eat fish (because they swim forward), or pork or steak because these animals take firm and sturdy steps. Birds on the other hand, scratch the ground throwing dirt backwards. What this weirdness means is, we don’t want to leave anything behind. We rather ring in the year “swimming” forward, and taking firm steps ahead.
I can’t confirm this Green Lentil Pork Stew will bring you any money or luck next year, but I can confirm they are delicious and absolutely worth eating on New Years day, and all winter long. Serve it with some white rice, or just by itself, with a little drizzle of olive oil and a splash of lime and you’ll feel lucky!
Bom Apetite & Feliz Ano Novo!!
Green Lentil Pork Stew | Step by Step
For this recipe, I use this cast iron cocotte, because it is the best way to soften the pork loin bits, without drying them. You can use any other cast iron dutch oven pot with lid, or even a heavy bottomed regular pan (which is how my mom rolls).
Anyway, heat the pan, throw a little olive oil in there, and then add the smoked sausage bits to that.
Let it cook stirring occasionally until they are nice and brown like this.
Then, remove the sausage, set them aside, and throw about half of the onions in the pan to sauté in the sausage fat.
Add the garlic.
Then add the chunks of loin.
Stir, stir, stir, and add water to the porky pieces. They don’t need to be fully submerged, about halfway is fine. You can always add a little more water if needed halfway through cooking. Cover the pot.
Cook until the porky pieces are cooked and tender, and the water has mostly evaporated – about 20 minutes. Isn’t this pretty?!
Then add the other half of the aromatics.
And caramelize them along with the sausage.
Then add the lentils…
Water and spices, cover and let it cook until the lentils are soft.
When the lentils are cooked, season them and simmer for about 10 extra minutes, and ta-da!! Have a bowl and get cozy!
Lentils of Luck | Lentilha da Sorte
Whether this delicious stew will make you rich or not, I can’t say. But I can confirm they are amazing and absolutely worth eating on New Years day, and all winter long.
Serve it with some white rice, or just by itself, with a little drizzle of olive oil and a splash of lime and you’ll feel lucky!
Make it! Take a picture and share your Lentils of Luck with me on Instagram by tagging me or using #cookingwithaline
Bom Apetite & Feliz Ano Novo!!
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Green Lentil Pork Stew
- about a cup of pork loin cunt into chunks
- 1/2 smoked pork sausage cut into chunks
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil plus more for serving
- 1 large onion diced
- 4 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 large carrot diced
- 1 lb green lentils
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp of fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp of mustard powder
- a little pinch of cayenne pepper
- lime wedges for serving optional
- Season the loin chunks with salt and pepper, and set aside.
- Heat a cast iron cocotte, or dutch oven, on stove top over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp of the olive oil, heat it up, about 30 seconds. Add the sausage and cook until browned.
- Remove the browned sausage from the pan, and set aside.
- Add half of the diced onions to the pan, and sauté them in the sausage fat, until transparent – about 2 mins.
- Add half of the garlic, and saute until fragrant – about 2 mins.
- Add the loin chunks, and stir – about a min.
- Add water to cover about halfway of the loin (no need to submerge the pieces). Cover the pot and let it cook until browned and the water has evaporated – about 20 mins. Check after about 10 mins, give it a little stir and add little more water if needed.
- When the loin is cooked and browned, add another Tbsp of olive oil to the pot and add the remaining onions, the carrots and the sausage, stir and sauté about 2 mins.
- Add the remaining garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2 mins.
- Add the lentils, the bay leaf and water to cover about an inch over the lentils (see photo above). Cover the pot and let it cook covered over medium heat until the lentils are soft. Approx 40 mins.
- When the lentils are cooked, season with salt and pepper to taste. Add lime juice, cayenne and mustard powder and let it simmer for 10 or so more mins.
- Serve with lime wedges, and some olive oil.