Almost everyone who has wandered my way at feeding time has had this simple stew plonked in front of them so it’s remiss of me not to have shared the recipe sooner. The chorizo adds flavour rather than meaty substance; here, lentils, beans and tomatoes are really the stars of the show. Do serve it with bread. Rice is nice, but it’s best scooped/dunked/smeared. Don’t forgo the balsamic because it gives a necessary crack of the whip at the end of the mouthful. And there should always, always be red wine with any red food served on a dismal Tuesday in February.
I hesitate to call this a 'store-cupboard' stew. In the sense that it works a few canned heroes into a bright, bold and warming supper, then it earns the title, but I can't help feeling it's a bit presumptious to assume everyone has puy lentils and black beans permanently in stock. One of these days I will have a grown-up larder, until that happens I'll go about the business of Buying Things When I Know I'll Use Them.
Apologies for the lack of photos – there’s something about winter that makes me antsy to get hot food into cold bellies and therefore I forget to dig out a camera. But hey, spring is on the way: there are snowdrops in the lane and, at dawn, deer have been wandering through the gardens on our street munching brave bulb shoots.
Easy Chorizo Stew
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 stick of celery, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
200g uncooked chorizo, sliced
2 or 3 bell peppers, red or yellow, cut into generous slices
400g can chopped tomatoes
Pinch of sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
500ml chicken stock
2 bay leaves
400g can black beans, drained and well rinsed
250g pack ready-cooked puy lentils
Salt and pepper
Sweat the onions, celery and garlic in the oil on low for ten minutes until they become golden and transparent.
Turn up the heat a little and add the chorizo slices. As they sizzle they leach their vibrant colour and scent into the base.
Add the peppers and give everything one last whirl in the pan.
Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, sugar, balsamic vinegar and bay leaves, and then season with salt and pepper.
Bring everything to a simmer, then leave to bubble gently away for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, throw in the rinsed black beans and cooked puy lentils. If you feel there’s a bit too much liquid, turn the heat up to reduce it faster. Give the stew another 10 to 15 minutes, then serve.