What does Ricky Martin and lentils have in common?
Nothing really, except I’m a little obsessed with both at the moment. Ricky Martin is a judge on the Australian version of The Voice, which is airing at the moment, and I absolutely adore him! Yes, I am a reality TV tragic! He just seems like a really lovely guy, and you can’t help but like him. And what is with the lentils? Well, my favourite food joint in the Uni cafeteria has a penchant for lentils. This place makes some really yummy salads with lentils and I’ve kinda developed a penchant for them too. So much so, that I’ve been actively looking for recipes that I can use lentils in. I’ve come across a lot of soups with lentils in them, which are great for winter but I think I’ve done soups to death. I needed to find a recipe that was more exciting, and maybe a bit exotic, like Ricky Martin! So, imagine my excitement when I came across a recipe for a spanish cottage pie with lentils in it! Not only does this dish have lentils in it, but it also has my favourite kind of sausage in it – CHORIZO! Combine those two ingredients with a bit of smoked paprika and you’ve got yourself the Ricky Martin of all cottage pies! This recipe can serve six people.
Ricky Martin spanish cottage pie
1 tbs oil
1 chorizo, coarsely chopped
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled, finely chopped
1 celery stick, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
750g pork and veal mince
400g can crushed tomatoes
250ml (1 cup) red wine
250ml (1 cup) chicken stock
1 tbs tomato paste
2 tsp dried thyme leaves
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 dried bay leaves
400g can lentils, rinsed, drained
1.2kg Cream Delight potatoes, peeled, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup (80ml) milk, warmed
60g butter, cubed
Heat half of the oil in a large, deep frying pan over medium heat. Add chorizo and cook for 5 minutes, stirring, until crispy. Transfer to a plate. Heat the remaining oil in the pan over low heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery. Cook, stirring, for 5-7 minutes or until soft. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Increase the heat to medium-high. Add the mince and cook for 5 minutes or until the mince changes colour. Stir in the chorizo, tomato paste, thyme and paprika. Combine the canned tomatoes, wine and stock in a jug, then pour the liquid over the mince. Add in the bay leaves. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour or until the sauce has thickened. Stir in the lentils and season to taste. Spoon the mince mixture into a 3L (12 cup) ovenproof dish.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C (fan forced). Cook the potato in a saucepan of boiling water for about 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and cool for a couple of minutes. Return the potato back into the saucepan. Mash until smooth, then add 40g of the butter and warmed milk. Season with a little bit of salt. Don’t add too much because the mince mixture will also be seasoned.
Spread the mash over the mince mixture. Cut the remaining butter up into cubes and place on top of the mash. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden.
Note: The only thing I changed from the original recipe is I used dried thyme instead of fresh. If you would like to use fresh thyme, double the quantity to 1 tbs. If you would like to see the original recipe, it’s on page 59 of the June issue of Australian Good Taste. For the mash, you could use any waxy variety of potato. I really like the Cream Delight variety because it mashes really well.