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Lentil Stew

Lentil Stew

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Hungarian
Servings 6 servings


  • 1 lb brown lentils (or 500 g)
  • 1/2 lb (200 g) good quality smoked meat, optional
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 2/3 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp lard or oil
  • 1/4 tsp ground paprika
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • Salt to taste


  • Before cooking, wash the lentils several times in cold water. Place them in a bowl with cold water to cover, and soak for at least 3-4 hours. If you soak it overnight that's even better.
  • Add your lentils with the soaking water to a saucepan. Add smoked meat and bay leaves. If necessary, add water to cover the lentils by 1 1/2 inches (4 cm). Salt to taste.
  • Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook your lentils until they are tender, for approx. 25 minutes. Watch out not to overcook them. Remember, you will have to cook additionally for a few minutes after thickening the stew. Skim off any foam off the top while boiling.
  • Take the pan off the heat and prepare the roux with onions.
  • Finely chop one small onion (about 1/2 cup) and 2 cloves of garlic.
  • Put your chopped onion into a casserole, add 2 tablespoons oil or fat and cook at medium heat until it becomes translucent.
  • Add garlic and cook for about half a minute.
  • Add flour, stir and roast for another 3-4 minutes.
  • Take your pan off the heat, add paprika. I usually add 1/4 teaspoon of good quality Hungarian paprika. But if you prefer rich paprika taste, you can safely double this amount. Stir.
  • Add a cup of cold water (250 ml) gradually, stir it continuously to get rid of any lumps.
  • Pour the prepared roux into your stew. Stir, and return the pan to the heat.
  • Bring it to a boil, and cook gently for 2 to 3 minutes, until flour loses its raw taste and thickens your lentil stew.
  • Season with mustard and lemon juice.
  • Lentil stew in Hungary is served without exception with sour cream. Add it right away, or after spooning it onto your plate. Use 2/5 to 4/5 cup (90-180 ml) sour cream per every 1 pound (450 g) of lentils, according to your taste.