Hearty Spanish Lentil and Sausage Soup
Serves 6 to 8
We prefer this soup made with small Spanish brown lentils, also called pardina lentils. French green lentils, or de Puy, can be substituted. If cured chorizo is not available, kielbasa sausage can be used. Alternatively, fresh chorizo can be used, but it should be removed from the pot after 15 minutes of cooking in step 3. Red wine vinegar can be substituted for sherry wine vinegar. Smoked Spanish paprika comes in different heat intensities. We like to use the sweet variety in this soup. Grate the onion on the large holes of a box grater.
1 pound (2 ¼ cups) Spanish brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
Salt and pepper
1 large onion
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ pounds cured chorizo, pricked with fork several times
2 carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch pieces
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
6 cups water
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons sweet smoked paprika
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1. Place lentils and 2 teaspoons salt in heat-proof container. Cover with 4 cups boiling water and soak for 30 minutes. Drain well.
2. Meanwhile, finely chop three-quarters of onion (you should have about 1 cup) and grate remaining quarter (you should have about 3 tablespoons). Heat 2 tablespoons oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add chorizo and cook until browned on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer sausage to large plate. Reduce heat to low and add chopped onions, carrots, 1 tablespoon parsley, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very soft but not brown, 25 to 30 minutes. If vegetables begin to brown add 1 tablespoon water to pot.
3. Add lentils and sherry vinegar to vegetables, increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently, until vinegar starts to evaporate, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 6 cups water, bay leaves, and sausage; bring to simmer. Reduce to low, cover, and cook until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.
4. Heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil in small saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add paprika, flour, grated onion, garlic, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.
5. Remove sausage and bay leaves from lentils. Stir paprika mixture into lentils; continue to cook until flavors have blended and soup has thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Cut sausage into ¼-inch thick slices, return to soup, and heat through, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.