A little taste of Basque cuisine, this Swiss Chard Stew with Pimentón and Lentils is adapted from Jose Pizarro's regional cookbook. Simple to make, this stew is full flavoured, robust and wonderfully Spanish.
One of my favourite things about cooking, besides the eating, is the way it can transport me. The dishwasher hums in the distance but for a brief moment I am eating noodles in Singapore, tacos in Mexico or pizza in New York. While sometimes a sandwich is just a sandwich, food can provide a magical release from the every day. The laundry basket is full, and will be when I return, but a little culinary travel is good for the soul.
Jose Pizarro's Basque cookbook is full of potential journeys. Packed with both family recipes and restaurant quality dishes alike, this book is on regular rotation at our house. While we pass on suckling pork and rabbit stew, many of the dishes can be easily made vegan.
Rustic Spanish cuisine is often simple to prepare and celebrates the integrity of the ingredients. This Swiss chard stew with pimentón and lentils has only a few ingredients but it manages to pack all the nostalgia of a Spanish cantina in every bowl.
While I added lentils to create a complete meal, the Swiss chard is the hero of this dish. Wonderfully colourful, the chard is well cooked but still maintains its beauty and vibrancy.
If you liked my fancy poor man's potatoes, you'll love the rustic ease of this Swiss chard stew with pimentón and lentils. With its effortless balance of flavours, this Spanish bowl takes me to a tiny cantina in a far off village where I can't hear the sound of the dishwasher beeping.
Swiss Chard and Pimentón Stew with Lentils
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 2-3 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 red capsicum pepper, deseeded and sliced in to thin ribbons
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 500 grams potatoes, peeled and sliced in to discs
- 1 bunch of Swiss chard washed with the stalks chopped and leaves shredded
- 750 ml vegetable stock
- 400 ml cooked lentils rinsed and drained
- sea salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- In a large pot, heat olive oil and gently fry the onion until soft, around 8 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add the capsicum (pepper) and the paprika and fry for a few minutes.
- Add the potatoes, Swiss chard stalks and stock and season with salt and pepper.
- Bring the stock to a simmer and cook for around 20 minutes.
- Add the lentils and Swiss chard leaves and cook for another five minutes or until the stew is lovely and thick.
- Serve with crusty bread.