Cuban Lentil Soup (Potaje)
-2 cups dry yellow lentils, washed
-4 cups of water
-1/2 medium onion, chopped
-1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
-3 garlic cloves, smashed
-1 small can of tomato sauce
-1 medium red skin potato
-1 medium butternut squash
-1 cup frozen peas & carrots mix
-salt & pepper to taste
1. In a large pot or pressure cooker, spray with oil and sautee your onions for a 3-5 minutes. Once they are to your liking, add in the bell pepper and sautee for another 3 minutes. Finally, throw in your garlic and sautee for 2 minutes.
2. Once your sofrito is ready (that’s the onion, pepper and garlic mix), add in your can of tomato sauce and stir.
3. Next, put in your 2 cups of lentils and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and let them cook for 30 minutes. If you have a pressure cooker, use it to speed up the process by sealing and cooking the lentils for 15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, use my instructions for butternut squash to peel and remove the seeds. Then, cut into large chunks about the size of an egg.
5. Take your red skin potato and wash it thoroughly. Then, chop it into small pieces about the size of a dime.
6. When your lentils have cooked for 30 minutes (or you take them out of the pressure cooker), add in your potatoes and let cook for 15 minutes. If there is not enough water, add another cup or two as needed.
7. Then, add in your butternut squash chunks and cook for 10 minutes.
8. Finally, add in your frozen peas and carrots and finish cooking for another 5 minutes or until your lentils are soft.
9. And you’re done! Take your pot off the stove and serve your dinner!
I called my mom the other day, trying to figure out what to do with my leftover butternut squash. She suggested I make “potaje”, a Cuban soup made out of beans that incorporates squash. When I was talking to her about it, I realized that the recipe also called for chorizo (sausage) and beef or chicken. But I didn’t want to make it with meat, so I opted to simply make do a bean soup. A friend of mine came over with lentils, which I’d never had before, and we made this. I think it turned out really well and we both had 2 servings each left over for lunch the next day. The soup was definitely a very creamy, chunky one but I thought it was perfect for the cold weather. I can’t wait to make it again, though perhaps with another kind of bean next time.
*This my mom’s recipe, which I adapted to be a bit more healthy and vegetarian.