Let’s talk about Spanish style chorizo. It is completely different than the Mexican style chorizo that comes in the super delicious taqueria tacos. Spanish style chorizo is highly flavored too, but it has a more salami like dried texture. It is one of my favorite ingredients to use in a soup like this lentil soup because the texture is so appealing to eat, and it adds a ton of flavor.
You can sometimes find this chorizo at certain grocery stores. Wegmans sometimes has it. The easiest way to get it is just to order here from amazon though. Since it is dried and preserved, it doesn’t require refrigeration and so can be shipped easily.
When using this kind of chorizo, you have to remove the outer casing. It is a thin layer over the outside of the sausage. If you run a sharp knife down the length of a piece, you can peel up the edge and then it peels off easily. I usually cut the larger piece of sausage into 2-4 smaller pieces before peeling because it makes it easier to remove the casing.
Before you add this chorizo to soup, you should fry it over medium low in your stock pot or a frying pan until it crispy and just starting to brown. You don’t want to burn it or overcook it because that affects the taste, but rendering some of the fat and crisping it up gives it a wondeful texture.
This soup also uses sherry vinegar, and you can sub red wine vinegar if you have to, but I really suggest buying some sherry vinegar. It adds great flavor to this soup, but also to salad dressings. About 2 hours of cooking time are needed for this dish, since the lentils need time to cook fully, so plan ahead. You can make this up to a few days ahead of time though and it tastes great reheated. You can also make and freeze it and reheat it later.
Spanish Style Lentil Soup with Chorizo
- 1 lb lentils (preferably green) rinsed and picked over
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 large onion
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 lbs spanish style chorizo casing removed and diced into 1/2 inch pieces
- 3 carrots diced
- 3 celery ribs diced
- 3 tbsp fresh parsley minced
- 7 cups water
- 3 tbsp sherry vinegar plus more for serving
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 2 tbsp smoked paprika
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tbsp AP flour
- Place the lentils and 2 tbsp of salt in a heatproof bowl. Cover with 4 cups of boiling water and let sit for 30 minutes.
- Chop the celery and carrot, and garlic. Chop 3/4 of the onion and then finely dice the other 1/4 and keep it separate for later. Heat a dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat and add your peeled and diced chorizo. Cook the chorizo, stirring frequently until it renders some of it's fat and gets a bit crispy, 5 minutes or so. Remove with a strainer and drain on paper towels.
- Reduce heat to low and add 2 tbsp olive oil to the chorizo fat and add the chopped vegetables, 1 tbsp parsley, and a tsp of salt (reserve your chopped garlic and finely chopped onion for later). Still occasionally and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.
- Add the lentils and sherry vinegar. Increase the heat to medium high and cook, stirring frequently until the vinegar starts to evaporate, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add 7 cups of water, the chorizo, bay leaves, and cloves. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until lentils are tender, about 30 min.
- Heat the other 3 tbsp oil in a sauce pan over medium until hot. Add the paprika, garlic, finely chopped onion and 1/2 tsp pepper. Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly for another minute. Stir this mixture into the lentils and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, remaining chopped parsley and extra sherry vinegar as desired.