This is one of my favorite recipes to make during colder months that is hearty, nourishing, and full of protein and vitamins. In Albania, the winter months are filled with fresh earthy vegetables like spinach, leeks, and carrots. The addition of fresh parsley and dill also enhance the robust flavor of this dish.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 lb 2 oz (500g) leeks
1 lb 2 oz (500g) carrots
2 bay leaves
2-3 sprigs thyme or rosemary
1 cup green lentils
2 cups canned chopped tomatoes
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra olive oil and chopped parsley and chopped dill (optional)
- Warm the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the onion, and cook gently, covered, for 7 minutes.
- Meanwhile, wash and trim the leeks and cut into 1-inch lengths. Scrub or scrape the carrots and slice them. Add these vegetables to the pan along with the bay leaves and thyme or rosemary, and leave to cook gently for an additional 4-5 minutes.
- Stir in the lentils and add 2 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then cover and leave to cook for around 30 minutes, or until the lentils and vegetables are tender.
- Add the tomatoes, mix, and leave to cook for an additional 10-15 minutes. Stir in the garlic, and season to taste with salt and pepper just before serving.
- Some good quality olive oil drizzled over the top and a garnish of chopped parsley and dill is excellent, though not necessary.