So this week, I am sharing two pocket-friendly dinner recipes using chorizo.
The cured Spanish sausage, now widely available in supermarkets here, is a great way to enliven everyday meals without having to master complicated recipes.
It is packed with the rounded flavour of paprika — either spicy, mild or smokey, depending on the chorizo.
If you are doing a vegetarian version, I’d suggest going for smoked paprika to add depth of flavour.
My first recipe is a fantastic chorizo and pulse stew. I am using lentils, but chickpeas or tinned mixed beans will work too.
I prefer green lentils for stews and casseroles, as they hold their shape well. This stew is also ideal for batch cooking as it freezes well for later use.
Next up is a ‘carbonara’ made with chorizo instead of pancetta. Of course, I’m cheating a little here as technically the traditional Italian dish should only be called carbonara if it’s made with pancetta.
Still, I hope you enjoy this Spanish twist on a family favourite. Happy cooking, Kevin
Ingredients (serves 4): ■ 1 onion, chopped
■ 2 carrots, diced
■ 2 garlic cloves, chopped
■ 1 tsp thyme
■ 150g chorizo, sliced
■ 2 tins green lentils
■ 1 tbsp tomato puree
■ 250ml vegetable stock
■ 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
■ Salt and pepper
■ Fresh parsley
Method: 1 In a saucepan over medium heat, drizzle some oil and add the onion, carrot, and garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until lightly coloured.
2 Add the chorizo and thyme, then sauté for a further 2-3 minutes until the chorizo is coloured and starting to render some of the fat.
3 Next, add the lentils, tomato puree and vegetable stock. Reduce the heat to low and cover with a lid.
4 Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are cooked.
5 Season well and add some balsamic vinegar to give a little sharpness to the dish.
6 Remove from the heat and sprinkle with fresh parsley before serving. Enjoy piping hot.
TOP TIP: Pulse stews can sometimes lack freshness, so adding balsamic vinegar will help the flavour pop and bring life to your dish. Try adding a little at a time until you find the right amount, as each vinegar will be different.
If you prefer using dried rather than tinned lentils, just add extra liquid to allow the lentils to plump up for 25-30 minutes on a low heat.
Ingredients (serves 4): ■ 400g fresh spaghetti
■ 200g chorizo, sliced
■ 1 onion, sliced
■ 100g parmesan cheese, grated
■ 4 egg yolks
■ 2 tbsp chimichurri dressing or gremolata (optional)
■ Salt and cracked black pepper
1 Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil and add the pasta. Cook according to the pack instructions.
2 While the pasta is cooking, heat a sauté pan and fry the sliced chorizo and onion for 2-3 minutes, until crispy.
3 In a bowl, next beat together the egg yolks and half the parmesan cheese. Season lightly with cracked black pepper.
4 Add 2-3 tbsp of the cooking liquid from the pasta to loosen the mixture.
5 Once the pasta is cooked, drain and return to the saucepan.
6 Add in the fried chorizo and onion, then the egg and cheese mixture. Stir (off the heat) to coat the pasta, and allow the eggs to set with the residual heat.
7 Season well with salt and pepper to taste.
8 Transfer the pasta to serving plates and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan. Add a drizzle of chimichurri dressing (see top tip above), if desired, and enjoy immediately.
TOP TIP:VIBRANT DRESSING IN A HURRY? IT’S GOT TO BE FRESH CHIMICHURRI
A delicious dressing to add to everything from stews and soups to pasta is chimichurri. Boasting fresh, vibrant flavours, the South American sauce is similar to pesto.
Just chop 40g coriander, 40g parsley, 1 red chilli, and 1 garlic clove, and combine with 1 pinch chilli flakes, a drop of red wine vinegar and enough olive oil to coat the mixture.
Keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for a day or so to drizzle on dishes at the last minute.