To continue in line with my previous publication, today I will not talk about music either, although it has something to do with the topic that I am going to develop today. I start by clarifying that relationship.
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Several weeks ago I told you what the music of the parranda is and the groups that perform it. There I told about my experience with my group, playing that music (The Parranda is also my music! - #mymusic). In that text I explained that the group would appear at the doors of a friend's or relative's house, without any prior warning, and there we would start playing and singing parrandas, until they opened the door and offered us some food and drink. One of those houses where we went regularly was that of my dear friend Cappy Donzella who also speaks to them in another post (Cappy Donzella, the last Venezuelan hippie is gone). The group began to "carry" parrandas from the first days of December to the first days of January. That was how on January 1 we arrived at Cappy's house and we found a party. To our surprise Cappy told us that they were celebrating the beginning of the year eating lentils, which was a Jewish tradition that was good for prosperity.
We loved that idea, which is why the following year, on January 1, we returned to her home. But to our disappointment we found them sleeping and when we asked them the reason, Cappy only said "Oh, no, that was only the past year! " My frustration was very big, so I decided that from the next year I would prepare lentils myself the first day of the year.
That's how it went. And since I am a very constant person, I've been doing the (now famous) "lentejada" (lentils party) for about 25 years. This has become an open house party, which is attended by family, friends, friends of friends and colleagues, every year.
For several years it has been established that I prepare 5 Kg of that grain. In the year 2002 a friend of mine who was a vegetarian, came to come too, so that year I separated the preparation into two parts, one vegetarian and the other carrying pork. Vegetarian lentils had more demand than we initially imagined, so afterwards I started to prepare 3 Kg with pork and 2 Kg "vegans".
In so many years the recipe has always varied a lot, however there are basic characteristics that are always maintained. I will explain how I prepare them, or at least how I did them this year.
The first step for me is to start cooking the 4 to 6 Pig's trotters (pettitoes) in 12 liters of water, which will be the amount for the three Kg lentils. Once I do that, I start to prepare everything else, which consists of preparing the seasoning, the vegetables that I will use, where I used the following:
- Sweet pepper
As a general rule, I start with the vegetables with the strongest or piquant odors. That way the following vegetables are "cleaning" or removing the smell or itch left in my hands. For that reason I start with the garlic, I peel and put it in the mortar, to these I add a little salt. This will allow the pestle to crush them more easily.
As a next step, cut the scallion into small pieces.
The part closest to the root can be placed in water and you will see how in a couple of weeks you'll have a new scallion, ready to be used in other foods.
Then I proceed to cut the coriander. Also parsley can be added, although I did not use it on this occasion. For convenience, these sheets can be cut with scissors, which greatly facilitates the task. This way I also feel that I have more control cutting this type of herbs. That was the technique that my mother used and the truth is that it worked for me very well.
One of the secrets that contributed to give greater taste to this food is to burn sweet pepper and paprika. This task is done directly in the kitchen burner. There are small grills that allow you to do this more easily, but if you do not have that tool, you can do it the same way I did.
After burning these fruits, we extract the seeds and cut them finely.
In my previous publication (A pork leg to end the year), I told you how I prepared a leg of pork and I took advantage of it to extract from there lard. After eating all the meat from the leg, I kept the bones to add them to the lentils. So we are going to take advantage of the meat that remained attached, as well as the same components of the bone. This we are going to add to the water where we already have boiling the pettitoes.
I will use the lard that I kept to fry the dressing, so I pour lard in the cauldron and there added the garlic, chives, coriander, sweet pepper, paprika and any other vegetable that you want to add. As I prepare the vegetarian ration, I divide the dressing into three parts. Two of them I use for the pork lentils. That is to say I fry the 2/3 parts in the lard and I reserve the other part to add it raw to the vegan ration.
* For this moment I must put to heat the water (8 liters) of the vegetarian ration, because the idea is that both are ready at the same time.
As a previous step, the only thing we need is to peel the potatoes. You can also add carrots, which gives it great taste too.
While you peel the potatoes, you can put them in water. In this way you prevent them from getting dark.
Since the lentil is a grain that cooks fast, I add the potatoes at the same moment I pour the grains into the water.
As soon as the grain is cooked, I add the raw dressing in the vegetarian pot and the fried in the other. I distribute 1 kilogram of short pasta between the two pots and add salt, pepper and plenty of cumin.
Usually, is this the moment that I take the opportunity to change my clothes, serve myself a drink and wait for the arrival of the guests. Well, in a matter of minutes, the food will be ready... 😋
Except where indicated, all photos are from my property, made with a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W650 camera
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