06 Aug2006


Many weeks ago while on my string of Spanish posts, discussions were hot and heavy lent2on Jamon Serrano, and one of my readers asked what she could cook with extra Jamon Serrano. I thought it was best to eat it freshly cut as an appetizer or gnosh but it seems that there are quite a few dishes that cook with the ham. Particularly the harder or older segments of the ham which tend to get drier but have that terrific flavor nonetheless. Here is a perfect dish for a lazy Sunday meal…Lentejas a la Extremena or Lentil Soup with Jamon Serrano and White Wine…recipe from The Cuisines of Spain by Teresa Barrenechea, it’s a wonderful cookbook by the way.

Rinse 1 generous cup of brown lentils and place in a colander. In a saucepan, combine lentils and cover with water (there whould be 2 inches of water above the lentils) and bring to a boil over high heat, then decrease the heat and simmer for about half an hour. Add a small whole head of garlic and lent3continue to cook uncovered for another hour or until the lentils are very tender. About 20 minutes before you think the lentils will be ready, in a separate sauté pan, heat about ¼ cup of good Spanish olive oil and sauté about 150 grams or more of finely cubed Jamon Serrano and one white onion, minced. After a few minutes, when the onion is translucent, add about ½ a small can or slightly more of canned peeled tomatoes, chopped. Add 1 tablespoon of sweet paprika (essential) and ½ cup of white wine. Add all of the contents of the sauté pan to the lentils and stir to blend the flavors. Season with salt to your taste. Cook for another 5-10 minutes and extract the garlic before serving. Serve the soup with some good bread. Easy, hearty and delicious. A terrific way to use up some leftover Jamon Serrano if you happen to have it!



  1. millet says:

    pamplina! make some pamplina with the jamon! by the way, those are terrific-looking lentils, MM. the ones i get here are usually tired-looking…

    Aug 6, 2006 | 8:17 am


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  3. Apicio says:

    Any recipe that calls for Chinese ham (Kin Hua) would also benefit from a substitution of jamon serrano. That Spanish ham and lentil dish just looks like what we need here for our cold and dark Canadian winters, something that will please the eyes and warm the bones.

    Aug 6, 2006 | 10:29 am

  4. fried-neurons says:

    Ham and lentil soup is one of this earth’s most magnificent creations. It is fantastic comfort food, filling and warming without being too heavy. A bowl of it during a cold winter’s day hits the spot perfectly.

    Aug 6, 2006 | 1:20 pm

  5. juls says:

    speaking of spanish soups, do you know how to make good sopa de ajo? parang it’s not on the pinoy’s list of spanish food ah…

    Aug 6, 2006 | 10:16 pm

  6. bettina says:

    I usually make the same soup with chorizo bilbao. And while still hot in a bowl, we sprinkle it with olive oil before digging in with french bread, yummy!

    Aug 7, 2006 | 7:50 am

  7. CecileJ says:

    Mmmmm, I looove lentils! My Ma usually just cooks it in olive oil, onions and maybe chorizo kung meron. We skip the tomatoes. Great stormy weather/comfort food!!!

    Aug 7, 2006 | 8:42 am

  8. chrissy says:

    MM you’re killing me! I miss my Bita’s (abuelita) lentejas (with chorizo) and I haven’t had a bowl since December! Good thing I’m going home to Davao this weekend (much needed break from work, my mom’s birthday and Kadayawan Festival!). Woohoo, 2 Sundays of lentejas for me! Not to mention the abundance of fruits and flowers!

    Aug 7, 2006 | 11:13 am

  9. Katrina says:

    Loooove lentejas too! I was reading your post yesterday and my brother-in-law (our resident cook) walked in. I showed the picture to him, hoping to inspire him. It happened that he had just bought lentils, so he made a lentil & chorizo soup for dinner. He used a similar, though different recipe from yours, but it was hearty, deliciously comforting and hit the spot! THANKS, MM, if not for the timing of your post, I wouldn’t have been around when he cooked it. :-)

    Aug 7, 2006 | 2:31 pm

  10. joey says:

    I love bean soups…especially lentejas and fabada (and monggo!). A true comfort food. You can buy ham bone in Alba’s (from their Jamon Serrano). That’s where I get mine for my fabada. It makes AMAZING broth in which to cook the beans (or to make a sopa cartuja, sopa seca, or pote gallego). But recently their supply has been super erratic…oh bother :(

    Aug 8, 2006 | 8:06 pm

  11. MGR says:

    Sopa de Ajo is so easy. Just saute some garlic in EVOO, add paprika and cumin.Then throw in chicken broth..lastly, plop a whole egg to poach. Voila!

    Aug 9, 2006 | 2:24 am

  12. Laura says:

    Tried your lentil soup recipe for dinner but I used the prosciutto I have instead. Mr. MM – I must say you’re an excellent chef – it was delicious!!! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    Aug 10, 2006 | 12:39 pm

  13. Marketman says:

    Laura, glad it worked for you. I have to stress I do not have any formal training in cooking… but thanks for the big pat on the back! There are several dozen more recipes in the archives…

    Aug 10, 2006 | 1:12 pm

  14. ThePedanticPrick says:

    It bears mentioning that, while bread is a delicious accompaniment to this dish, eating lentils together with rice provides a complete protein. Since the ham (or chorizo) alone may not provide very much protein, this is a good thing to keep in mind.

    Jan 10, 2007 | 7:24 am


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