Friday, January 20, 2012

Onion Filled with Orange Lentils (Cebollas rellenas de lentejas)

This is the vegetarian version of "cebollas rellenas." For many families in Spain, during and after the  Civil War, onions were one of the few foods they had to eat. I remember watching a movie of the period where the children would eat raw onions as snacks. Even the great poet Miguel Hernandez has a poem about the onion, "Nanas de la cebolla." It is a nursery rhyme for his son that he wrote in jail after learning from his wife that onions were the only food that she had at home to feed their son. The poem includes the words "cebolla y hambre" (onion and hunger.) It is interesting that the great Chilean poet Pablo Neruda also dedicated a poem to tho onion: "Oda a la cebolla." In hard times filling it was better than just a bare onion. Now, like "shepherds crumbs," such onions have become a fancy dish on many menus.


1 onion per person
1/4 onion chopped 
1 garlic clove chopped
1/4 green pepper chopped
2 mushrooms chopped
1/3 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 cups orange lentils (also known as Turkish)
1 cup chicken bouillon
1 cup of the liquid used to boil the onions

Boil the onions in a pan with water until tender. Make the "sofrito" in another pan by cooking the chopped onion, green pepper, garlic and mushrooms until everything is tender Add the paprika and stir, then add the tomatoes and about 3 tablespoons chicken bouillon. Let everything simmer for about 5  minutes, then add the lentils, stir, and add the rest of the cup of bouillon. Simmer for about 40 minutes adding the water from the onions as needed.

Remove the inside of the boiled onions until you only have two outside layers. Fill the onions with the lentils and broil them until they get a light brown color. If you don't have a broiler, just put them in the oven on high heat for a few minutes.

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