Smokey red lentil and chorizo soup
I got this recipe from a soup book called Hearty soups. Great little book that I think was gifted to me a long time ago. I have been making this red lentil soup for a long time too even before I ever made or tasted dhal with red lentils, an easy Indian inspired dish which i first tasted when I moved to Trinidad. More on that fabulous recipe on another post. This red lentil soup has a different flavour than that dhal. The paprika gives it a nice smokiness and it also has a lot of garlic and ginger in it too so it is not lacking any flavour at all. I have adapted the original recipe because I like to add in some pumpkin too and a little cayenne for a little heat as well. I also think that the original recipe calls for way too much red lentils in it for the amount of water/broth it asks for.
When I was back home it was really really easy to get my hands on chorizo and very good chorizo too, but here in Trinidad that is not always the case. I find it as sandwich meat at the grocery store sometimes but not often enough to be able to just depend on having it on hand every time I make this soup. I’m sure I can find it at one of the specialty stores here but I will also be paying specialty prices for it too. So instead what I usually do is fry up some bacon and spice it up with a chorizo blend of spices after it’s been frying for a while (chorizo spice being: some chilli powder, cumin and clove, you can also add coriander and oregano and thyme too for a more complex blend) and tada- you have chorizo’ish bacon bits!! Solves that problem. The real thing is obviously better but the soup itself works well with plain old bacon if you can’t get your hands on chorizo or maybe if you want a more frugal option. But I found out recently that @delmanofoods makes an awesome chorizo sausage here locally so next time I make this recipe I will be frying those up instead.
Red lentils are so easy to cook. They cook in no time as well. They don’t take near as long as the other varieties of lentils and they require no pre-soaking. They also cook right down to almost a purée just in case you have never cooked with them before. Just like the other varieties of lentils, although small they are mighty in nutritional value. They provide excellent amounts of minerals, B-vitamins, they are also a great source of protein and fibre. They are very filling and from a frugal standpoint are very inexpensive. So all in all they are a great food to include in your weekly roundup. This soup is a great meatless Monday/vegetarian option too. Just omit the chorizo and use vegetable stock or water instead of chicken stock. Hope you enjoy this simple soup that packs lots of nutrients and flavours all in one bowl.
Red lentil and chorizo soup
- 1⁄4 cup of olive oil
- 1 onion chopped finely
- 1 large carrot sliced
- 1 celery stalk sliced
- 1 cup of cubed pumpkin (optional)
- 3 garlic cloves chopped finely or grated
- 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tsp of smoked paprika
- 1⁄2 tsp of cayenne pepper
- 1 1⁄2 cups of red lentils rinsed
- 4 cups or more of chicken broth or your choice of broth (plus more depending on your preference of soup thickness)
- 2-3 chorizos (or bacon spiced as mentioned above or plain)
- 1 small bunch of parsley
Reserve a couple of tsp of oil to fry up chorizo. Heat the rest of oil in a large sauce pan and add onion, carrot, celery, and pumpkin to sauté until softened.
Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for a minute or two until the garlic is nice and fragrant
Stir in cayenne and paprika and then add in lentils and stir well for them to get covered with the flavourings
Add the stock and bring to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer until lentils are tender. They will turn into a purée. Add in extra stock or boiling water to adjust the thickness of soup to your liking.
Meanwhile add the reserved oil to a pan and fry up your sliced cured chorizo until crisp on both sides( if using raw sausage- pan fry the whole sausage until cooked through, allow to cool slightly and slice it once it’s cool enough to handle. Reserve oil from pan.
Plate your soup, drizzle some of the remaining oil in pan from frying the chorizo on top, sprinkle some of the chorizo on top along with some fresh parsley and enjoy!!