Spanish chorizo and lentil stew

Chorizo and lentil stew

When we’re shivering in darkness as the seasons meld from autumn to winter, this easy chorizo and lentil stew hits the spot: intense smoky flavours from the paprika chorizo cut through by the wine (or sherry’s) fresh sharpness. It’s also a great little tapas recipe, otherwise known as chorizo con lentejas, and freezes well too.

This is the chorizo con lentejas recipe we use for our pop-up tapas bar, Cantina Festival, which appears at the Silk Mill during the Frome Festival every July. It’s one of our most popular tapas and no matter how much we make, we always sell out.

The list of ingredients is deceptively simple but the success of the recipe depends on good-quality chorizo. I buy the chorizo in 1kg packs from the brilliant Tapas Lunch Company; if you’re a chorizo fan, it’s worth getting it in bulk and freezing it in small packages as it cooks beautifully and works out far better economically than buying the inferior chorizo sold in supermarkets. Wherever you buy it, make sure you get semi-cured or cooking chorizo, not cured.

Chorizo smoked paprika

Serves 4, or 8 as a tapa

Olive oil

400g semi-cured chorizo, sliced into thick 1cm coins

1 large onion, about 200g, peeled and finely chopped

3 fat cloves garlic, finely chopped

250g puy lentils

150ml dry white wine or dry sherry

1 bay leaf, preferably fresh

1 tbsp smoked paprika

  • Add a glug of olive oil and fry the chorizo on a medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring.
  • Remove the chorizo with a slotted spoon.
  • Add the onions, turning the heat down slightly and cook gently for 10 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and fry for 2 minutes, before mixing in the lentils, strirring for 2 more minutes.
  • Turn the heat up to medium high and add the chorizo and the sherry or wine.
  • Boil the kettle and 1 litre of hot water, enough to just cover the chorizo and lentils.
  • Add the smoked paprika and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are soft but have some shape to them. Add some more water if it looks too dry.
  • Serve with thick slices of sourdough or ciabatta and maybe a rocket or other peppery leaf salad, along with a glass of Rioja.
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