Lentils for the New Year - Another tradition

in food •  4 months ago

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
  • Peppers
  • Chives
  • Garlic
  • Coriander

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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What a wonderful tradition you have kept rockin! I love lentils and eat quite often. I never thought of putting the pasta in with them. I would prefer the veggie version that looks super yummie... thanks for sharing!


Hahaha, this is why I make the two versions, because "different strokes for different folks".

Thank you for commenting!

Hi ylich,

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Thank you very much, dear friends! Great job!

What a wonderful recipe and so much food comes out of it! Thank you for the salt on garlic tip. I will try that for sure. I also use the scissors for herbs. So much easier. I would love to come and sample that dish - with the pork - thank you for such a great post about it :)


With the salt trick you don't even need the mortar, on a cuuting board it works great too...!

If you sample the dish, please let me know how it was... ;-)

Thank you for comming by and commenting!

You did all that much foods by yourself @ylich 😲 whooaaa.. that's really cool. Wondering how it served but I think you didn't get any picture of it.. because tge guests were coming and thetly ate it all 😉 what a nice post abd tradition.

Anyway... could you share the vegan one? There must be a lot of vegans on steemit who want to read the recipe too. Thanks for sharing and congrats for the @curie pick 😉


For the vegan one I just omitted the pig's trotters and the legs bones in the water, and I didn't fry the dressing with lard. I used it raw in this case, but you can fry it in vegetable oil... 😉

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Fue gratificante leerte. no imagine que llevaras tanto tiempo con la tradicion, mientras estaba leyendote por mi mente paso la idea de que lo de las lentejas habia sido hace un par de años o incluso el anterior. cuando leo que haces eso desde hace 25 años me quede como que wow es mucho tiempo. Pero me agrada la constancia, eso es lo importante. aparte que la tradicion te permite compartir con tus allegados.... ahora me dieron ganas de comer lentejas. tengo todos los ingredientes a disposicion. Saludos @ylich


Hace un par de años que hubo una disminución de asistentes a la lentejada y pensamos en ese momento no hacerlas más, pero al final nos dimos cuenta de eso, de que se trata de una hermosa tradición familiar y no podíamos pararla. Y menos mal que seguimos, porque luego empezó a venir más gente otra vez...

Bueno, si tienes todos los ingredientes, aquí tienes una receta para que las varíes un poco, jejeje.

Gracias por pasar por acá y dejar tu comentario.

What a wonderful post, @ylich. The anecdote, the history/story, the recipe. That is a wonderful tradition you have created there. WIsh you a long and happy life so that it can be kept in time. Any young member of the family in training keep it alive?
I had not seen the combination of lentils with pasta.
My wife and I also prepare lentils, although not with a particular occasion or purpose. We make lentils soup with smoked pork chops. Sometimes we put hot peppers and it's a killer.


The young members of the family (until now) are just eating and enjoying the party. I hope they start soon the training, hahaha.
Lentils with smoked pork chops are great 😉 I use it frequently too.
Something that can not be missing in our "lentejada", are several types of hot sauces, but I don't add hot peppers, although when you buy the Sweet peppers always comes some stowaway... 🤣

Thanks for reading and commenting!


You are right about the sweet peppers. My mother-in-law usually gets hot surprises (I don't mind, she can't stand hot). We have to try them all before using them.
It was a pleasure, great post indeed.

My goodness, what a great recipe!
I love lentils for a variety of reasons, one of them is that they are a very economic food. I advise friends who are not so well off to stock up on lentils (and also rice) because with funds being tight, you always would have plenty to eat, getting much of your protein needs from lentils.
I lived in Canada for many years, and there, out of necessity, I had to practice "self-defense cooking" (my partner was not a good cook, lol). I am originally from Austria, and my mother sent me a Viennese cookbook by the Austrian chef Franz Ruhm - called "Perlen der Wiener Küche".

In it also a recipe for lentils. That recipe calls for using pork rinds, but pork hocks would definitely be a good choice. He suggested a fried egg on top of the dish.
But your recipe takes this to an all new level! I can't wait to try it out!
PS: the garlic and salt trick I use as well - but without a mortar, I just squash it with the broad side of the kitchen knife. The salt absorbs the juices so nothing is lost.


You're right, using the salt trick the is mortar not necessary.
In Venezuela is commonly used the pig's trotters for lentils, beans, etc. I hope you try it out, I promise it 'll be great!
Your book looks intriguing...! I'd like to have a look at this Viennese pearls 😋

Thank you for your time and your comment.

BTW: Die Deutsche Version dieses Beitrags ist jetzt auch erreichbar! 🤩


Pigs Trotters: yes, they are often used here in Vienna also - from Czech and Hungarian tradition mostly.
About the cookbook: I had translated (and altered them my way) some of the recipes for my friends. Most recently for my ex wife (she still doesn't know how to cook, lol) Goulash, Paprika Chicken and Rouladen Recipe - on my Google Drive.
Somewhere in my files I have scans of all the pages, but can't find it right now, which makes me think, if I do find them, I should just publish them on scribd.
The cookbook is not easily found - no hits on Amazon (sold out), but seen some on Abe Books: Perlen der Wiener Küche and on ebay from Germany, with a few others by Franz Ruhm.


About those recipes I was looking for: I found them, they were scanned JPG pages. I just now uploaded them to Flickr, so you can check them out on there:

It's a good recipe to be tried with your post in hand. That's not what impressed me the best.
The more I like cooking for family, friends and friends of friends. It seems wonderful to me, the wonderful preparation and certainly the meeting of all.


Yes, the best part is to know what are you cooking for... It becomes a joy!

I hope you try this recipe out and tell me your experience!

Thank you for reading and your kind comment.


I will try, thank you!