I have traveled extensively over the years and tried many tasty dishes. But in 2008 one particular dish inspired me to start cooking dishes back in my own kitchen: a hearty sausage and lentil stew in Spain…
I must have been really hungry, not just ‘cos of a long walk after getting lost with my family on the beach, but because I can still taste how delicious this stew was! Big chunks of chorizo sausages peeking through like ships in a sea of perfectly cooked and well seasoned lentils which delighted at every mouthful and warmed you up from within.
A while after coming back home from that trip, I came across some juicy little chorizos in Sainsbury’s and came up with this recipe. It’s not entirely faithful to the original (funnily enough I’ve somehow managed to make it kinda Persian despite the presence of pork lol), but the principle remains the same: a comforting, hearty stew of sausage and pulses.
Notes on picking the ingredients & cooking:
- Lentils: In my opinion, it is best to cook your own lentils, so I buy them dry. My favourite type for this dish in particular (also in general) is Puy lentils; it is a French variety that has a great taste and holds its shape nicely once cooked. My second favourite for this dish is brown lentils which are small with a deep brown colour (pricewise cheaper too). Green lentils and also tinned/canned lentils are fine too of course, but I prefer the other two for texture and taste. Important point: make sure you don’t season the lentils too well, otherwise the stew might be too salty at the end because of the sausages.
- Chorizo: personally I like chorizo that is chunky and juicy since it doesn’t cook too dry and feels nice to the bite (not too hard, not too soft). As I mentioned earlier, my first choice for this dish is the mini cooking chorizo by Sainsbury’s which for me ticks all the above. I have shown below in pictures how to chop them into the optimum size for the perfect bite according to friends and family (see below). Also make sure you do remove the excess oil from the pan as explained in steps 2-3, otherwise the stew would be too greasy.
- 250 g lentils (see notes)
- 250 g chorizo sausages, chopped (see notes & photos)
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 chicken stock pot
- 1/2 tsp ground saffron
- 1 fresh lemon, juiced and zested
- freshly ground pepper
- (optional) to serve: 50 g feta cheese, crumbled
- Wash the lentils a few times, Cook the lentils as per packaging instructions minus 10 minutes (takes me 15-20 minutes usually, they should have a bite to them), set aside saving the liquid.
- Place the pan on medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add the chorizos and sweat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally until the chorizo is slightly fried and has released oil.
- Remove the chorizo from the pan and place in a plate covered with a few thick kitchen towels to absorb the oil.Carefully pour the excess oil in another dish, reserve for another use. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and cook for 3 minutes until golden.
- Return the chorizo to the pot along with the lentils & stock pot. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small cup/dish pour some boiling hot water over the saffron and stir. Cover to brew while the stew is cooking.
- Add the saffron tea plus the juice and zest of the lemon. Taste and adjest the seasoning to your taste.
Serve with a bit of crumbled feta cheese and freshly ground black pepper.