Here’s a dish which can be a soup (as I treated it today), a stew (add some cubed potato and other root vegetables) or reduced to a lovely lentil side dish. While not the classic way we do lentils in the Caribbean, you’ll find that it’s just as tasty and COMFORTING!
2 cans lentils
1 can stewed tomatoes
1.5 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion (diced)
5-7 cloves garlic (smashed)
2 scallions (chopped)
2 stalks celery (chopped)
1 teaspoon grated ginger
4 smoked pork ribs
1 large carrot (small cube)
1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon Caribbean Browning
1 heaping tablespoon Caribbean Green Seasoning
2 Pimento peppers (aka seasoning peppers)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
6 cups chicken stock
2 cups diced squash or pumpkin (cubed)
2 tablespoon chopped parsley
Note! You may need to visit your local West Indian or Latin super market for the ‘Browning” and Pimento peppers (NOT pimento seed/spice). We’re using canned lentils to speed-up the cooking time.
In a deep stew pot on medium flame, add the olive oil followed by the onion, pimento pepper, garlic and turn the heat to low so we don’t burn the garlic.
2 minutes later add the black pepper, scallions, celery and carrot, stir well and continue cooking on low.
5-6 minutes later add the smoked ribs and stir again then the scotch bonnet pepper. Remember to use as much as you can handle and wash your hands with soap and water immediately after handling such HOT peppers. We want to render some of the fat off the ribs to get that deep meaty/smoky flavor from the start. Use smoked turkey if pork is not your thing. BTW, bacon is a great (cheaper) substitute for a smoky flavor.
Drain the lentils and rinse with cool water, then into the pot… followed by the can of stewed tomatoes, salt, Caribbean Green Seasoning and grated ginger.
Turn the heat up to bring this to a boil. Here’s where we’ll add the brown sugar, Caribbean browning and stock. Bring to a boil.
As it comes up to the boil, add the Worcestershire sauce and butternut squash and be sure to give everything a good stir.
Reduce to a simmer, lid on slightly ajar and cook for 20-25 minutes.
Everything should be tender now so this is where you personalize things. Taste for salt and adjust (remember the pork ribs and stock will add a bit of salt), adjust the consistency to your liking (reduce more if you want) and toss in the chopped parsley.
Drop me your comments below, tag me on Instagram and don’t forget you can now get my cookbook – The Vibrant Caribbean Pot, 100 Traditional And Fusion Recipes @ CaribbeanPot.com/CookBook/