1teaspoonPimentón de la Verasmoked Paprika - if you can't find Pimentón, substitute sweet paprika
Heat up a large saucepan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. When hot, add the bacon and cook until it is brown but not crisp.
Add the diced onion and cook for about 3 minutes until you can smell them release their aromatics.
Add the stock, garlic cloves, leek, carrot, bell pepper, lentils and thyme sprig. Bring this mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
When done cooking, remove the thyme spring from the lentils. You may find like I did that it breaks up into pieces and is hard to remove every bit of it. Don't worry; it adds a little additional flavor to the stew.
Pick out the garlic, leek, carrot and bell pepper quarters and transfer to a blender. Add about ¼ cup of the cooking liquid and puree the vegetables.
The recipe says to drain the lentils and return them to the pot. My experience was there was nothing to drain. I'm not sure if this was because I used red lentils rather than green lentils but I don't think so. So if you experience the same, don't worry about it.
Add the pureed vegetables to the lentils and give them a stir.
Heat a small skillet over medium heat, add the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil and then the garlic. Reduce the heat to low and cook the garlic for about a minute.
Add the smoked Paprika, stir and transfer it to the lentils. Stir and simmer for a few minutes.
Add the sherry vinegar, taste and if needed, season with salt.
Serve it in a bowl and top with the chicken thighs but do try this with other meals as a side dish. Lot's of flavor and easy to prepare. And don't hesitate to create your own version using other ingredients you have on hand.
Don't add salt to the liquid you are cooking them in because it toughens the lentils. Season after they are cooked.