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Sopa de Lentejas con Chorizo (Lentil Soup w/ Chorizo)

You know how sometimes...after you've seen something just can't get it out of head until you've tried it?  Well, this just so happens to be one of those times.  Sweet Mely from Mexico in My Kitchen shared a pot of soup the other day that just planted itself in the path of anything else that tried to make its way into my cerebral cortex.  So.  For the safety of me and those around me, I figured I'd better move it out of the forefront so that I could attend to other things.  I did things a little differently, due to what was on hand and personal cooking habits, but stayed pretty true to the way Mely made it.  Head on over to her place for the original recipe and step by step instructions.  The main difference is that I used some split red lentils in place of regular lentils.  If you do this, please note that this type only takes about ten minutes at most to cook.  Be sure to cook all of your veggies until almost soft before adding the lentils and use a fortified stock for maximum flavor development.  I wrote the recipe as though I'd used normal lentils, though...because normally...I'll do just that.  The batch of chorizo I used was pretty spicy this time, but if it hadn't been, I knew I'd be stirring in some crushed red chiles.  Also, I love finishing a hearty legume soup with a drizzle of good vinegar.
Sopa de Lentejas con Chorizo
(Lentil Soup with Chorizo)
adapted from Mexico in my Kitchen
makes 6-8 svgs.

6 oz.chorizo (fresh, Mexican)
3 tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 large onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, small dice
2 c. lentils, rinsed
7¼ cups of chicken broth, divided (plus more as needed, or use water)
small handful fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
crushed red chiles (optional)
Balsamic vinegar (optional)

Place the tomatoes and garlic in a blender with a cup of the broth. Mix until smooth and set aside.

In a large pot, cook the chorizo over medium heat until well browned, ~8 minutes. Remove some of the excess fat from the pot leaving just one tablespoon.

Add the carrots and onion; cook for about 5 minutes until soft.
 Stir in reserved tomato-garlic mixture and cook for ~5 more minutes.

Add the lentils and remaining broth. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the thyme and bay leaf. Partially cover and simmer gently for ~30-40 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Stir in a bit more broth or water if soup seems too dry.
Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaf and season to taste w/ salt & pepper.  If you like it with a little heat, add some dried, red chile flakes to taste, as well.  Some chorizos are hotter than others, so be sure to taste before adding more heat.  Drizzle a bit of Balsamic vinegar over each serving, if desired.

*note: If using split red lentils, they take a max of 10 minutes to cook, so adjust accordingly!!
*Did you know that today is National Soup Swap Day?  Interesting fact for all of the other SoupAddicts out there... I'm sending this over to my pal Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for her weekly virtual soup swap, Souper Sundays!