Another day, another recipe!
This one has been one of my most requested recipes since I first posted it on Instagram Stories. (I test all my recipes on there during the week, so hit the follow button if you want sneaky previews!)
My smokey Chorizo, Lentil and Chickpea Stew does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s easy to make, warm and filling to eat, and keeps well in the fridge – so it’s perfect for packed lunches.
And obviously: it’s freaking delicious. (If I do say so myself.)
I used to HATE lentils. Chickpeas too. We’d get our dinner menus sent home from school once a month, so we’d know what was coming, and I DREADED Fridays. Because Fridays were legume day. (I have no idea why.)(Also, legume is an odd word isn’t it?)
I have a very vivid memory of one of my friends and I hiding under one of the tables in the classroom so the teachers wouldn’t find us and make us go to lunch.
That’s how much I hated lentils and chickpeas. I was willing to SKIP LUNCH (shock gasp horror!) to avoid eating them. (We got totally busted of course, and had to sit and eat ALL our mushy, bland, beige legumes before we could go outside and play.)(I cried a lot.)
But I don’t hate them anymore.
This recipe is actually inspired by one my Dad makes. After years of legume trauma, one day my Dad made this epic tomato, lentil and sausage stew… And it turns out that lentils are actually pretty awesome. Our school cooks just didn’t know how to cook them properly.
So the moral to this (very long) story is: add some paprika, tomato, and actual FLAVOUR to your legumes, and they will reward you by being so delicious that you won’t have to go hide under a table to avoid them.
So what’s in my stew:
Well lentils and chickpeas, obviously. I use green lentils for this sort of recipe, as I find they retain their shape better. I love red lentils in soup, but they do tend to go mushy, which makes them not-ideal for dishes like this.
Crushed tomatoes make up the base of the sauce, flavoured with lots of smoked paprika, thyme, and garlic. Caramelised chunks of chorizo add a bit of bite, but you could just as easily leave that out if you’re after a fully vegetarian/vegan dish.
And finally: frozen spinach. Because I’m OBSESSED with frozen spinach. It’s cheap to buy, quick to cook, and adds a good dose of greenery and vitamins to pretty much any recipe.
I like to make a BIG batch of this smokey stew, then divvy it all up into lunch boxes for the week. Measurements below are for said huge batch, and we usually get about 6 portions out of it (depending on how hungry Gary is!).
It’s a very relaxed recipe, so don’t worry if your ratios are slightly different to mine, or if you’re missing an ingredient or two. I’m more of a “make it up as I go along” kind of cook, and my favourite recipes are ones that I can easily adapt to whatever I have in my cupboards at the time.
So make this your own, and have fun with it!
270g green lentils
75g chorizo (about half a ring)
1 can chickpeas in water
1 can chopped tomatoes
200g frozen spinach (about 6 blocks)
2 cloves of garlic
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chilli powder
3 tsp thyme
300ml vegetable stock (half a pint)
Salt + pepper
1. Put a pan of water on to boil. Add the lentils and 2 tsp of thyme, then let it simmer (without the lid on) for 30-35 minutes, until the lentils are just tender. Drain, and put to one side.
2. Meanwhile, drain the chickpeas over the sink. Peel and finely chop the onion. Chop your chorizo into small, bitesize pieces. Carefully smash your garlic with the flat edge of a knife, then peel, and crush (or chop very finely).
3. Heat a big shallow pan, on the hob, on a medium heat. Throw in the chorizo (don’t worry about adding oil, as the chorizo will release some as it cooks). Fry the chorizo for about a minute, then add the onion and garlic.
4. After two minutes, add the frozen spinach. Keep stirring on the heat, and after 5 minutes, once the spinach has defrosted and broken down, add the lentils, chickpeas, chopped tomatoes, paprika, chilli, salt, pepper, and 1 tsp of thyme. Stir until everything is combined, then add the boiling stock, and stir again.
5. Let the stew simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until you’re left with a thick meaty stew. Serve hot.