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Lejka (Lentil Stew)

This recipe for lejka (lentil stew) is based on my mother-in-law's recipe from Bitola, Macedonia. The recipe can be be modified to comply with the LENT fasting requirements, by simply excluding the 'zaprska' or substituting the oil in the 'zaprska' with water. If you are making this recipe during LENT, you can serve with bread from the HOLY BREAD recipe from my blog.



Ingredients (serves 4 people):
  • 200 grams of green lentils
  • 1 brown onion
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 green pepper or capsicum 
  • Vegeta, salt and pepper

    Zaprska (thickener):
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons of plain flour
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons of red paprika
  • 20 - 30 mls of vegetable oil (can substitute with water if fasting)

1. Place the lentils in a medium saucepan full of cold water on the stove and bring to boiling point. Drain the lentils then fill the saucepan with new water (this will essentially 'clean' the lentils).

2. Add the onion, garlic, carrot and green pepper to the saucepan and allow them to boil together with the lentils for approximately 20 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened. Tip: poke the onion with a toothpick a few times to allow water to seep in while boiling.

3. Take the vegetables out of the saucepan and use your fork to 'mush' into a paste. Add the vegetable paste back into the saucepan with the lentils. Season with vegeta, salt and pepper, and boil for another 20 minutes or until the lentils are cooked. Tip: keep checking that there is enough water in the saucepan, as you do not want your stew to stick to the bottom of the saucepan.

4. To thicken the stew, you will need a small fry pan to create the 'zaprska'. Heat the oil and add the flour. Stir until the flour has dissolved, then stir in the red paprika. Once the 'zaprska' starts bubbling, remove from the stove, add to the saucepan and stir.

5. Serve with some beautiful crunchy bread and feta cheese.

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