a yummy substitute for maccas: chorizo and lentil soup
I was thinking about my recipe repertoire recently; the stockpile of dishes people can prepare quickly and easily that both delights and nourish. I’ve found most people have at least half a dozen recipes they can trot out when faced with the dilemma of what to cook for a dinner party or even what they know will leave them feeling happy and satisfied. I have several that I have honed over the years according to taste and seasonal produce.
I realised that the “old faithful” recipes that I have trotted out time and time again all have something in common. They were either conceptualised while I was a student or made more interesting and delicious with techniques I learnt while I was a student.
Thinking about it, it really makes sense. During my years as a student I was living pay to pay, buying food that was cheap or on sale. This often left me with a pantry full of random ingredients that one wouldn’t think would work well together. Who knew adding the right combination of spices to some broccoli and then pan frying them for five minutes would result in a superfood tasting amazing?
One of my favourite ways of tweaking a dish is adding red lentils. They are fabulous on so many levels – they make the dish more dense, hearty and substantial, they have a squillion nutritional benefits, and, like mushrooms, they take on the flavour surrounding them so you know they will always be tasty (unless you’ve accidently made something disgusting, which we’ve ALL done).
I found this recipe on Nigella.com, and, being my usual finicky perfectionist self when it comes to food, I tweaked and reinvented. The result was a dish that (as I have mentioned in previous columns) was both nutritious and delicious.
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp cumin
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 brown onions, finely chopped
2 Chorizo sausages, halved lengthways then cut into 1cm half rounds
4 sticks of celery, finely chopped
2 red capsicums, cored and finely chopped
6 cups of chicken stock
2 tins of good quality diced tomatoes
1 cup red lentils
1 cup fresh coriander, chopped
1. Heat a decent sized splash of olive oil in a sturdily based pot. Add the onion and allow it to sweat for ten minutes, soften but not colour.
2. Add the garlic and spices and cook for a further five minutes.
3. Add the chorizo, celery and red capsicum and cook for five minutes, or until the chorizo starts to colour and sizzle.
4. Add the stock, lentils and tinned tomatoes and bring to the boil. Allow to simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. You can also add some extra stock if the mixture is becoming too thick.
5. Season to your liking and serve with fresh coriander. Crusty bread works too.
Serves 4, with leftovers.
By Emma Robinson