As I’ve probably mentioned a number of times, I have an Airbnb amazing host here in Buenos Aires, Luba! She goes to great lengths to make her place feel like your own. Despite its obvious advantages of being located in one of the best parts of the city and being within a stone’s throw of almost every great restaurant/cafe/bar in town, it comes with a larger-than-life host. While I could use gracious, kind, funny, hilarious, and helpful to describe her, the following experience is probably one of the best exemplifications of why everyone in Buenos Aires should live with Luba. (I promise this is not an advertisement for Luba or her apartment)
Before I was leaving for my visit to Salta and Mendoza, Luba decided to cook dinner for myself and another guest, Meg. Not wanting to give up the opportunity of eating a home-cooked Argentine meal, we didn’t think twice before accepting her offer.
Luba had been in the kitchen most of the day making a lentil stew, Lentejas, for us. For the non-Argentine, Lentejas is basically a stew with lentils, potatoes, onions, peppers, and beef (because everything here has beef in it). It’s cooked for a few hours, and served with bread and Malbec, the national staples. [On a side note, my friend and I often joke that Malbec is cheaper than water here–although that’s a different story coming in a blog post soon].
So, we sat down for dinner, and got to eat some of the best home-cooked Argentine food. I’ve been to a couple of peoples’ houses here, but Luba’s Lentejas definitely take the top spot on my list of best home cooked food. Being the good samaritan that I am, I asked Luba for her recipe to share with y’all
Without much further ado, here’s the recipe you all want to know:
What you need:
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 large red bell pepper, diced
3 medium onions, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb. (250 g) filet mignon, cubed
1 tsp. paprika
34 oz. (1 L) tomato purée (ketchup works too)
400 g of lentils, soaked overnight
2 small potatoes, cubed
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste
What you should do:
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add peppers, onions, and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add garlic and lightly sauté; do not allow it to brown. Add beef cubes and paprika. Wait till the meat browns well, and then add tomato purée. After a while, add the lentils. Cook for a few more minutes, and add potatoes.
Simmer, covered, over low heat for approximately 10 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through. Stir occasionally to let all the good stuff mix.
Season with salt and pepper to taste at the end of the cooking process, but exercise moderation (for your sake!) Stir in the fresh parsley.
Let the stew sit for a few minutes before serving. Accompany with a fresh baguette and some Malbec of course. Enjoy!