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In my neck of the woods the cold has come and gone. Hopefully it’ll be back sometime soon. While it was here, I decided to enjoy it while I could and made some lentil soup. The soup is great for a for a chilly night spent around the fire. Not that it ever gets that cold here. But we’ll take what we can get.

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I’ve been known to make this a few different ways; vegetarian, with ham or tasso and red wine, with or without the green leafy vegetables or thick like a stew. However, when I saw the chorizo in the case at the market, I knew I had a new version coming up. The chorizo is smoky and bursting with paprika. The addition of the aji colorado further enhances the smoky goodness. I think it was the best I’ve ever made.

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Smoky Lentil Soup with Chorizo

  • 1 lb chorizo sausage
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2-3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 15oz can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 16oz bag dried lentils, washed
  • 2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth or water
  • 2-3 cups spinach or kale, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tble aji colorado chile paste
  • 8 oz small pasta (I use elbow macaroni or ditalini), cooked

In a large saucepan, cook chorizo in a small amount of oil until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove sausages to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Set aside. Pour out all but 2 tablespoons of the cooking fat. Cook onion, carrots and celery over medium heat until it has softened, but not browned. Add garlic, stir to combine. Continue cooking another 5 minutes. Pour in tomatoes with juice. Stir well and cook until tomatoes release their juices, about 5 minutes. Add lentils and broth or water (or some combination of the two) along with the spinach or kale and the chile paste. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue cooking for 35-45 minutes until lentils are tender. Slice reserved chorizo sausages in 1/2″ slices and return to the pot with the lentils. Simmer another 5 minutes to warm the sausage.  Serve with small pasta and a shot of Tabasco sauce.

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Notes:

  • This makes a lot. But it freezes well. Make it. Eat it. Freeze what’s left. You’ll thank me later.
  • There really isn’t a substitute for the aji colorado. So just do yourself a favor and make it already. You can use it in so many wonderful dishes, you’ll wonder how you lived before this condiment of deliciousness came into your life.
  • Here are just a few ways to use up the aji colorado: chicken tacos, roasted tomato salsa, Peruvian-style roasted chicken, cheese enchiladas.
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