Lentil picadillo bowl recipe

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Picadillo is a traditional Latin American sauté consisting of meat, flavorings and tomato. The dish is often sweetened in some way, using sugar, honey or even raisins. This rendition of picadillo is the Puerto Rican version, which includes achiote seeds, olives and raisins. Nutritious lentils replace the ground meat.

  • Yield: 4 Servings


Lentils and Farro
  • 5 cups water
  • ½ cup green lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • ½ cup brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup pearled farro, rinsed well
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons achiote (annatto) seeds
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 medium onion, cut into large chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into large chunks
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 8 ounces kale, tough stems removed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup pitted Spanish olives, sliced
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 1½ teaspoons sea salt
  • ½ cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) (optional)
How to Make It
  1. Combine the water, lentils and bay leaves in a medium saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the lentils are al dente, about 20 minutes. Drain, reserving ½ cup of cooking liquid and return the lentils to the pan.
  2. Farro
  3. Heat the broth, farro and salt in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain, return to the pan and keep warm.
  4. Spices
  5. Combine the peppercorn, cumin, coriander, achiote, oregano, and paprika in a spice grinder or personal blender. Process until finely ground. Add 2 tablespoons of the mixture to the lentils as they cook.
  6. Saute
  7. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic and cilantro to a food processor. Process until finely ground. Heat the oil in a large pot over high heat. Stir in the vegetable mixture and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for 30 seconds. Add the wine and cook until the wine evaporates, about 3 minutes. Add the rest of the spice mixture, kale, broth, olives, raisins and salt. Cover and cook until the kale softens, about 5 minutes. Stir in the drained lentils and reserved cooking liquid and cook, uncovered, until the flavors meld, about 5 minutes. Divide the farro among 4 bowls, top with the lentil sauté. and garnish with pepitas, if using.

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