Yes, Chef!: How to Cook Lentils by Luis Alberto Lera
This Michelin-starred chef explains the importance of pardina lentils and shares several recipes where this product shines
Awarded a Michelin star in the 2022 guide, this slow-speaking chef with strong convictions also received the Product Defense award at Alimentos de España 2022, during the most recent edition of the Madrid Fusión-Alimentos de España international conference. His favorite legume is the pardina lentil, which is “a little smaller than the Castilian lentil and quite tender. It’s the most representative of my area, Tierra de Campos.
" His restaurant menu always features one of his most emblematic dishes, “lentils with Mallard duck.” He serves this legume even in summer, when stews generally take a backseat to lighter recipes. That’s why it’s one of his most defining dishes. However, he also prepares them in other ways, serving them “in salads, and with marinated fish, for example.
The lentil’s versatility (and its iconic recipe)
This chef’s most well-known recipes aside, Lera says, “You can use lentils to make a good stew, with meat or vegetables, and another option is to sauté them with a little garlic and eat them warm, with a shrimp.
" Is there a trick to ensure that the lentils come out perfectly? “It’s important to be patient, as they must be soaked in water to soften them, from anywhere between 8 to 10 hours, depending on the season. I also like to add them to a sofrito with garlic and paprika.”
Just in case anyone wants to try to make Lera’s lentils at home, here’s his recipe, in his own words. “We remove the ducks’ feathers and confit the meat in its own fat for about 16 to 18 hours with black pepper and a couple of bay leaves. We soak the lentils the day before and then cook them in water. In the same pot, we add an onion, two carrots, two leeks, a ham bone and a piece of ham. Leave it to cook for two to three hours until the lentils are ready. Remove the vegetables and the ham. Prepare a sofrito with oil, garlic, paprika, and organic flour. Add a pinch of salt and two drops of vinegar to give the lentils a touch of acidity. Shred the duck and add some of the duck fat to the lentils along with some marinated duck foie.” An excellent lentil dish.