You guys... I have the winter blues. I know, I know. I can't really talk to you northerners and midwesterners about my #spainproblems considering the whole Polar Vortex thing has been dumping way too much snow on you this winter, but I really do. If it isn't raining, it is cloudy. If it isn't freezing cold, then it's windy. If there is sun, well... that's a miracle and you will definitely find me outside. Winter in Madrid is certainly not the coldest, wettest, or snowiest place to be, but it certainly gets old after a while.
The Spanish dish that is absolutely my number one comfort food during the winter months is lentejas con chorizo (lentil soup with chorizo). There's nothing quite like curling up in a window seat in a warm restaurant with a glass of Rioja and a huge bowl of lentejas. I have attempted Spanish lentils before and failed miserably. But this recipe? This one tastes exactly like my favorite restaurant's soup.
Ps. Do you want to know a secret about comfort food? It never photographs well. Get past the beany texture in the photo and make it for yourself. You won't be disappointed, scout's honor.
1. Lentejas Pardinas: These are brown Spanish lentils, which help to contribute to the color of the dish. If substituting the type of lentil make sure you check the difference in how long it takes to cook! For example, red lentils take much less time to become tender.
2. Smoked paprika: The ultimate spice in Spanish food.
3. Chorizo: do you see all the delicious specks of fat in the above photo? This is what gives the soup such a creamy and meaty flavor. Of course if you are vegetarian feel free to omit this ingredient!
Lentejas con Chorizo
recipe credit: San Pasqual's Kitchen
1 & 3/4 cups of lentils
1 link of chorizo, sliced (about 9 oz)
4 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
1 medium onion, diced
1 large potato, peeled and diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon Spanish paprika
Salt to taste
Place lentils, chorizo, whole garlic cloves, carrots, and potatoes into a large pot. Pour enough water to comfortably cover ingredients.
Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Let cook uncovered, stirring occasionally.
Fry onions in a pan with olive oil until slightly browned, then add Spanish paprika. Stir to coat all of the onions and then add mixture to the pot of lentils. Splash a little bit of water onto the onion pan in order to scrape out the rest of the delicious paprika / olive oil mixture, and then add that to pot of lentils. Salt to taste.
Cook for 45 minutes over medium-low heat, adding a bit more water when the soup looks too thick.
Remove the garlic cloves from skin and mash. Add back into the lentil soup and stir to combine.
This soup reheats really well. Just make sure to add a bit of water when you reheat because the lentils and potatoes tend to absorb all of the liquid when in the refrigerator.
Have you ever tried lentejas con chorizo?