With winter on the way and temperatures set to plummet even here in Southern Spain, it’s time to haul out the recipe books and cook up some of those good old-fashioned stick-to-your-ribs winter warmers that your mother used to make.
In Spain, that means cocina de cuchara, or dishes eaten with a spoon, and first and foremost of these are the potajes (the word potage still exists in English), which are bean stews, usually cooked with added meat and vegetables. Cheap, filling, tasty and nutritious (4 out of 4) these stews of lentils, alubias or garbanzos, very common and traditional in Spain, deserve to be much more popular than they are in some northern parts of Europe.
Below is one of our favourite recipes for a lentil and chorizo potage, a variant of a recipe you can find in Janet Mendel’s Cooking in Spain. It’s easy to make, even for novice cooks, and gives a minimum of 4 servings.
1/2 kilo quick cooking brown lentils
2 litres boiling water
400 grams longhaniza rojo sausages (or chorizo)
1 head of garlic cloves, peeled & sliced lengthwise in half
1 large onion, chopped
2 italian green peppers, chopped
100 grams sliced roasted red peppers (from a jar)
2 carrots, chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp each of sea salt, black pepper, cumin and pimentón dulce (La Chinata is best)
Cook the sausages in a large saucepan, then chop up and put aside, reserving some of the juices from the pan. Sauté the onions, peppers and garlic in a bit of olive oil until onions are translucent. Set aside.
In a large pot add the lentils to boiling salted water and stir well. Then add the carrots, tomatoes, sautéed veg, sausage and spices. Mix well, cover and simmer on low heat for about an hour and a half, stirring frequently. Add the reserved pan juices for extra flavour if desired. Yum!