What is it with the Spanish food lately? Must be the weather.
Because it’s officially cold outside. Here in Chicago we’ve had some freakishly mild weather and a disconcerting lack of snow. Until this past week when we got those character-building below-zero wind chills we know and love and were able to break out the dilapidated lawn chairs to claim our shoveled-out parking spaces. Cause that’s how we roll.
A soup like this must have been created with chilled bones, numb fingers and runny noses in mind. If you’ve sent someone out to shovel the sidewalk, walk the dog, or take the kids sledding they will not mind at all if they can return to the smell of this incredible soup bubbling away on the stove. They might even forget that they spent the last half hour convinced you were trying to kill them.
It’s got lentils, it’s got chorizo (one of my all-time favorite cured meats), it’s got carrots and onions and smoked paprika and garlic. It makes enough to feed an entire hockey team and it improves with age. It might be the perfect food. There’s also a variation with kale just in case you’re one of those nut cases who needs to have something green in their food in order to live with themselves (and I am one of them). You could use kielbasa or any similar type of sausage (including veggie sausage) or omit the meat entirely to make it vegetarian (and vegan).
I could not find lentils du Puy so just used the regular, store-brand kind. They get a quick (30-minute) soak in boiling water and salt to speed up their tenderization so the soup doesn’t need to cook for hours and hours (although with all the chopping, browning and simmering I would allow at least 90 minutes and preferably 2 hours from start to finish).
Hearty Spanish-Style Lentil and Chorizo Soup
Cook’s Illustrated, March/April 2013
Serves 6 to 8
- 1 lb. (2-1/4 cups) lentils, picked over and rinsed
- Salt and pepper
- 1 large onion
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1-1/2 pounds Spanish-style chorizo sausage, pricked with fork several times
- 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- 7 cups water, plus extra as needed
- 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar, plus extra for seasoning
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 tablespoons sweet smoked paprika
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour