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Lentil Stew with Barley, Feta Cheese and Pita Bread

Luka Drobac from Serbia

Serves
8
Preparation
30 minutes
Cooks in
60 minutes
Country of origin
Greece

I associate my earliest memories with Greece, since it was the most common destination for me and my family to travel to. I think these first trips left a huge mark on my life. They shaped me and showed me the true joy of traveling. Also It was then when my love for Mediterranean started to grow ever since. I became obsessed with the sea and the coastal culture. In 2012 I decided to test my idea of becoming a travel photographer by traveling to Greece once again. This time I chose Parga, a small place located in the northwest of Greece. I heard wonderful stories about it, its streets and people. They all turned out to be true. One day, while I was searching for some interesting corners and moments to photograph, an old lady, selling herbs in front of her house caught my attention. She was surrounded by all these fresh, green and fragrant herbs. She had these incredibly blue eyes which were full of life, and it was a sight I couldn’t resist to photograph. I asked her for a permission but she didn’t speak English. She told me something in Greek and then she laughed. In that moment a young man came to her and kissed her. His name was Spiros, and he was her grandson. He worked at Kayak renting service and he rented me one of his boats on my first day in Parga. He asked me if I could take a picture of him and his grandma. After I had photographed them he invited me to lunch with them. I entered their lovely house full of light and wonderful scents. These scents were coming from their stove. It was their lunch. We sat for the table and Irini, Spiros’s grandmother put a huge pot in front of us. It was filled with a Lentil stew. It looked so fresh, so simple and so healthy. While we were eating our lunch Spiros told me that in Greece, lentils are very popular because they are so cheap and available, and yet they are considered to be very healthy and nutritious. Now, whenever I want to remember Parga again, all I need to do is to cook this simple, healthy dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 leek
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 fresh red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of paprika powder
  • 500 gr of lentils
  • 50 gr of barley
  • 3 l of water
  • 2 dl of tommato juice
  • 3 cups of white flour
  • 1 cup of water
  • A package of dry yeast
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Feta cheese
  • Fresh basil
  • Olive oil

Method

  • Panfry chopped onion, leek, red pepper, carrots and garlic on olive oil for about 5 mins
  • Add paprika powder and mix it a bit
  • When the vegetables have softened, add lentils and pour in all the water
  • Bring the stew to a boil, reduce the heat and leave it to simmer for about 30 min
  • Add barley into the stew, pour in tommato juice and give it a good mix. Leave it to simmer for another 30 min
  • Serve the Lentil Stew in a bowl and put some feta cheese and some fresh basil on top of it
  • For pita bread:
  • Take 1 cup of flour and yeast and mix it together in a bowl
  • Add one cup of water, mix it and leave it on a room temperature for 15 minutes until bubbles start to appear
  • Add another 2 cups of flour, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, add some salt and start mixing it with your hands
  • At the beginning, your dough will be sticky but as you continue to knead it, dough will become less sticky and it will start to take shape
  • After 15 minutes of kneading, your dough should be soft, elastic and ready for the next step
  • Put the dough in a bowl, cover it with a plastic foil and leave the dough to double in size
  • When the dough has been doubled, remove it from the bowl, put it on the floured surface and make it flat so you can cut it into 8 pieces
  • Form a small balls out of them and roll them into pita breads
  • Take your pita breads and place them on sligthly oiled, medium heated pan
  • Grill each pita bread for about 3 min on each side

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