According to Hungarian tradition, a big part of starting a new year right is contingent on what you eat on its very first day. Superstition says one must eat lentils or other seedy produce, which resemble coins and represent the abundance of wealth in the upcoming year. It is also advisable to eat pork on New Year’s Day. When pigs dig dirt with their snouts they are pushing in a forward direction, and this is a symbol of pushing luck and progress towards in the new year. Our January recipe is an ideal choice for lovers of tradition, because it includes lentils as well as pork. We wish you a successful and happy new year.
Ingredients (serves 4):
- 20 dkg brown lentils (presoaking not necessary)
- 30 dkg smoked ham* or “füstölt tarja” cut into 1-2cm cubes
- 1 large red onion finely diced
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large carrots sliced into coins
- 1 turnip sliced into coins
- 175 g sour cream or Greek yogurt
- 4 dried bay leaves
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- cumin, salt, ground black pepper, garlic, summer savory (“borsikafű”) and mustard according to taste
Sauté the onions on the hot olive oil. In a big pot, add the lentils and the cubed meat. Add enough hot water to cover the lentils, and season the mixture with 4 bay leaves, some pepper, a teaspoon of lemon juice and a teaspoon of sweet paprika, then increase the flame. Once the water has come to a boil, reduce to low-heat until soft (45 minutes-1hr). When the lentils are semi-soft, add the vegetable slices. Finally, flavor the soup with cumin, garlic, summer savory, mustard, and salt to taste. Remove the bay leaves before serving. Serve hot, with some sour cream or Greek yogurt. Jó étvágyat.
Did you know?
Lentils are high in protein (26 g/100 g), and contain beneficial amino acid compositions. Due to its low glycemic index it does not suddenly raise the blood sugar levels. Its high fiber content (19,3 g/100 g) makes it particularly filling and a good choice for those suffering from constipation. Lentils are also an excellent source of folate and magnesium, which aid in the prevention of heart disease. Folate lowers homocysteine levels, which contribute to heart disease, while magnesium plays an important role in the body’s detoxification processes, and helps prevent sudden cardiac arrest and stroke.
*for a lower fat content, use smoked turkey leg instead of smoked ham