Lentil and Chorizo Stew

Lentil and Chorizo Stew

Yesterday my baby girl was home sick with a tummy bug, which incidentally I caught, so I decided to make her a clear broth.  I had some chicken and ham bones in the fridge, plus loads of veggies, and I always have some herbs and spices on hand, so it was easy-going.  Today she is feeling much better, and I put that delicious stock to good use.  Lentils-  I love lentils, having grown up eating it almost every week.  In Colombia our grains are usually accompanied with white rice, but here in Spain, lentils are eaten as a dish on its own.  That is what I was going for today, swapping my usual “latino” herbs and spices for some more “mediterranean” ones.  Oh, and let’s not forget the chorizo……no lentil dish worth its name would be without it here, since pork is king!

Lentil and Chorizo Stew

I love the chorizo in the lentils, it gives it a warmth and depth that really isn’t achieved with in our Colombian counterpart; at least in my home our lentils were more of the vegetarian variety.   Also, I added some smoked sweet “pimenton” to give it that extra smoky kick!  Adding the chorizo and pimenton makes this more of a one plate meal, no accompaniment needed, and as the weather cools down, it definitely warms your belly too!

So here’s what you’re going to need”

4 cups dark stock (recipe below)

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1/2 green pepper, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 carrot, chopped

1/4 cup chorizo, cubed

1 tsp smoked sweet pimenton or paprika

1 cup Pardina lentils, or Lentilles du Puy (french lentils)

2 bay leaves

1 sprig of thyme

Salt and Pepper, to taste

In a medium sauté pan, add the olive oil and warm it up over medium low heat.  Add the onion and green pepper, and sauté until softened, about 8 minutes.  Add the garlic and tomato paste, and cook for another 5 minutes.  Add the carrot, chorizo and pimenton, stirring and cook for another 2 minutes.

In the meantime, in a dutch oven or medium stockpot, bring your stock to a boil.  When boiling, add the vegetables, lentils, bay leaves and thyme.  Season with salt and pepper, and cook over high heat for 10 minutes.  Lower the heat to medium low, and simmer for another 35 minutes or until the lentils are fully cooked and it has slightly thickened.  Serve with fresh crusty bread and enjoy!

For the Stock:

This is a go to stock recipe that can be used as a broth, or base for other food preparations.  This makes about 6 cups, and feel free to swap some of the vegetables and herbs for what you have on hand.  The most important part is the cooking time so it really develops some flavor.

Makes about 6 cups of stock

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter

1 leek, sliced

3 shallots, diced

2 carrots, diced

2 celery sticks plus some leaves, sliced

1 large tomato, diced

1 cup cabbage, diced

1 tbsp tomato paste

Chicken bones and neck

3 ham bones

8 cups water

2 sprigs of sage, roughly chopped

2 sprigs of thyme

3 bay leaves

1 tsp black peppercorns

Salt, to taste

In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat.  Add the leek, shallots, carrot, celery, tomato and cabbage, cook for about 15 minutes, until softened.  Raise heat to high, add the tomato paste and your bones, stirring constantly to incorporate the paste.  Add the water and the rest of the ingredients.  Boil for about 10 minutes, and then lower heat to medium high, and cook for another 40 minutes.  Turn off heat, and cover to let the flavors meld for another 20 minutes.

Strain through a chinois, and return to the dutch oven.  If you want a very clear broth, like consome, then when the stock is simmering, add 2 scrambled egg whites to the stock, and let it simmer for about 5 minutes.  Remove the egg whites, this picks up all the impurities and leaves you with a crystalline broth.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

Bobotie Spiced Pork, Apple and Carrot Chutney with Turmeric Rice; A South African Inspired Dish- An Amazing Holiday

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I’m back!  Yes, it has been a long, long time.  Since I last wrote, I basically packed up my whole house in Barcelona, spent 12 marvelous days in Cape Town, South Africa and it’s surroundings, then flew back to Spain, but to my new city, Madrid, and set up house here.  It has been sad, exhilarating, and frustrating at its best and worst!

Since moving in to our new house, which is gorgeous, I haven’t been able to post because we had to wait for our internet to be set up.  But finally, they came yesterday and I am up to date with the world again!  Our new house is amazing, and my favorite part is obviously the kitchen.  We have a pantry……and a large double door fridge (which here in Spain they call a ‘American Fridge’), and we’re able to fit a table to seat six in the kitchen.  So excited to begin to create so many goodies in this amount of space.  This is true luxury for me!  The only catch is that the oven doesn’t work.  But they are coming to install a new one tomorrow!  Wooo hooo!  Gone are the days of over/under cooking from my previous and ancient oven!

Anyhow, our vacation to South Africa was amazing.  My best friend Miki is from South Africa, but her family is German/Japanese.  The reason of our visit was to attend her wedding.  And what a beautiful and fun wedding it was.  We reunited with old high school friends and new ones I have made along the way thanks to her.  Oh, and to totally make you even more jealous, her family owns vineyards in Stellenbosch.  Yes, we were more or less drunk everyday.

Stark-Code Vineyards, my friends' family farm where the wedding was held

Stark-Code Vineyards, my friends’ family farm where the wedding was held

Now, apart from the wedding, my family and I went on Safari, and also did a few tours in Cape Town.

Inverdoorn Game Reserve

Inverdoorn Game Reserve

 

3 year old White Rhino

3 year old White Rhino

 

A few of the Cheetas on the reserve

A few of the Cheetahs on the reserve

 

Mama Cape Buffalo checking us out

Mama Cape Buffalo checking us out

 

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One of two hippos on the reserve

One of two hippos on the reserve

 

I love Zebra Print!

I love Zebra Print!

 

Cape Barbary Lion

Cape Barbary Lion

 

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Sunset with the Cheetah's

Sunset with the Cheetah’s

We made it all the way down to the Cape of Good Hope, which was breathtaking, and also did a Township tour, which was heartbreaking.

View of Lion's Head from Table Mountain

View of Lion’s Head from Table Mountain

 

Food wise, South Africa is a very diverse country.  There are so many cultural influences, from Malaysian to Indian to German to Dutch….the list goes on.  Here are a few things I learned about eating in South Africa:

1.  They eat a lot of meat.  Beef, lamb, pork, Springbok, Ostrich, you name it.  It is on every menu.  My new favorite is Springbok, but I don’t think my butcher has any.

2.  They put bananas on pizzas.  Huh?

3.  They put butternut squash on EVERYTHING.  Each and every menu had something with butternut.  Salad, pizza, pasta, dessert.  You get the idea.

4.  They’re obsessed with avocados, or as they call them, avo.

5.  They make Buffalo mozzarella from Cape Buffalo.  Still damn good!

6.  They make kick ass wine.  (But I knew that already)

That said, one of my first meals in the house was a dish inspired from the flavors of South Africa, and Miki’s wedding menu.  I was so impressed with the different spices, their use of sweet and savoury, that I had to make something like this to alleviate my depression upon returning, and to try to eke out every last moment we had.  Served with a well chilled glass of Pepin Conde Sauvignon Blanc that we brought back, of course!

So here’s what you’re going to need:

For the pork-

4 slices of Pork Loin, 1 inch thick

1/2 tsp curry powder

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Salt, to taste

Olive oil for the pan

For the chutney-

1/2 onion, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp butter

1 tsp chopped fresh ginger

1 tsp chili pepper

2 apples, peeled and chopped

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

1/2 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Juice of 1 Lemon

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup unsulphered molasses

1 tsp salt, more or less

Water to cover the ingredients

For the rice-

1 cup long white rice

2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp salt

2 cups water

Fresh Spinach

In a small stock pot, add the olive oil and butter over medium low heat.  Add the onions, ginger, chili and sauté for about 5-7 minutes, or until softened.  Add the rest of the ingredients, with enough water to cover.  Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium low, and let simmer for about an hour.  If it is getting too dry, add some more water.  Cook until it is thickened, keep warm.

In the mean time, make the rice.  Wash your rice, and in a bowl, mix the water with the turmeric and salt.  Place in a deep sided pan, add the rice, and bring to a boil, covered.  Let boil for 2 minutes, then lower the heat to medium low, and simmer until the water is evaporated.  Keep warm.

In another bowl, mix all the spices for the pork.  Coat the pork well on both sides with all your spices.  In a frying pan, heat up the olive oil over high heat.  Just before it starts to smoke, add the pork and cook, about 4 minutes on each side.

To plate, place a bit of the fresh spinach and top it with a pork slice.  Then add some chutney and rice.

Enjoy!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

Sancocho Colombiano: Colombian Soup

Sancocho

Welcome to the Expat Hospital.  Wow…this past week has been, well, less than stellar.  It started with my daughter getting sick on Monday.  I got the virus on Thursday, one of my dogs got sick on Friday, then the other one last night.  The only person spared, at the moment, is my boyfriend Paolo.  Let’s see how that goes!

So, the only thing that I was actually hungry for, was my mom’s Sancocho.  Sancocho is a dish that has variations all over South America and the Caribbean.  It originates from Spain and the Canary Islands, from Cocido, which means cooked.  Sancocho means parboiled.  This soup, or stew as some would call it, is not only delicious, but is ridiculously nutritious.  And so easy.  All you need is a very very big pot, and some time to peel and dice.  And then you boil.  In my family, we add pumpkin, yuca, green plantain, carrots, corn, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, scallions, cilantro….and some chicken and beef.  It makes a crazy good soup.  And of course, I remember my dad telling me that it was Jewish Penicillin.  So……this is what we have eaten ALL WEEK LONG in the expat household.  Or at least, I have.

So, since it is flu season and all that, why not share my super easy, super delicious, super healthy recipe of my mom’s Sancocho?  I am sure you will like it, and will cook it up even when you aren’t feeling under the weather!

So here’s what you’re going to need:

(Sorry, have no idea how many it serves and the ingredients are approximated, use more or less, depending on taste!)

5 chicken legs or thighs, skinned

200 g pork or beef ribs

1 onion, quartered

4 scallions

2 tomatoes, quartered

2 carrots, sliced

1 potato, cut into cubes

1/2 yuca or malanga, peeled and cut into chunks

1 plantain, cut into chunks

1 large slice of pumpkin, peeled and cut into chunks

2 corn on the cob, cut into 4 pieces or 6 pieces

Cilantro, plus a tbsp of the leaves

1 tbsp vinegar (apple cider is best)

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

salt and pepper to taste

Lime wedges, to serve

White rice, to go with if you want, in the soup or as a side

In a large stock pot, add all the ingredients up to the cilantro leaves (you want to add a couple of sprigs of cilantro).  Cover all of it with water and bring to a boil.

When the chicken is cooked and your vegetables are tender, add the vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper to taste.  Boil 5 minutes longer, and strain the broth into another pot.  Discard the scallions, tomatoes, onion, cilantro sprigs.  Return all the “eating” vegetables (carrots, potatoes, yuca, plantain, pumpkin and corn) plus the chicken and beef to the broth.

Serve in large bowls with a little bit of veggies and the meats for everyone.  Sprinkle with the cilantro and lime.  Eat while it’s hot, and sweat out that flu!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla