Green lentils are slowly simmered with spicy Portuguese chorizo, leeks, carrots, and celery to make a hearty autumn Chorizo and Lentil Soup.
Zen (Zen Can Cook) and I were having a twitter converse the other evening about all things Basque, in particular, about him growing up in the region and I being of the Basque heritage. At the end of the conversation, I was hungry for all things Basque in particular the comfort food of my youth.
My great-grandmother came over to the states in the mid-1910’s from her native country the Vizcaya Spain region. I admire her for leaving her family, friends, and country to seek new adventures at such a young age and being a woman on top of that – I am sure I get my sense of adventure from her or at least I like to *think so*. After being in the New York area for a bit she found herself in Northern Nevada at which time she fell in love, got married, had 8 kids and lived on a working ranch, yes, they herded sheep, just as they did in the old country, hence where my other love of eating lamb came from!
I have fond memories of her during my early days of youth. You see she passed away when I was 10, so I never really got to know “her”. I do remember going to her house, almost every afternoon, for coffee and cookies, the reason for my coffee addiction! I remember her praying and going to church and I would tag along sometimes. I loved the veils she wore over her pulled back gray hair and the mystery behind her going, the prayer beads and god. If she had lived longer, I probably would have continued going to church, with her, maybe I quit going because God took her from me at such a young age? I remember pots of “stuff” cooking on the stove, stuff that always smelled great and more times than not it tasted fantastic. I am sure if she lived longer, I would have loved to eat tripe at an early age, as now, I love it!
There are a few dishes that I remember eating often and one of them was lentils. I loved how small these little beans were and how the skin slipped off on the top of your tongue and what was left was a smooshy little bean. I use to be able to eat bowls of them. As well I loved all the garlic that was added to the pot and the smell of it slightly burning in the oil right before the lentils and broth was added. And I loved the spicy chorizo that was added to the mix. I have not made lentils for some time and usually, when I make them now, it always ends up as something else, not soup. Thanks to Zen, I was provoked, to pull up some recipes that are tucked away in my memory and now I would like to share one with you.
Chorizo and Lentil Soup
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 leek, finely sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
3 carrots, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 chorizo, cut into slices *used Portuguese Chorizo as I cannot find Basque Chorizo in our area, we bring Portuguese chorizo from Boston when we are out there
1 cup green lentils, cleaned and picked through
64 oz chicken stock
1 whole tomato, washed and tossed in
Heat olive oil in a soup pot, add leek, celery, and carrots. Cook over low heat for about 5 minutes, add the chorizo and cook for another 5 minutes.
Add the garlic (I add the garlic at the end of sauteing as it has added health benefits if not overcooked), lentils and stock.
Cook over low heat for about 30 minutes, then toss in the tomato and continue cooking for about 15 minutes longer or until the lentils are tender.