World Cuisine – Chorizo Stew

I used to work at a resort for a chef who was well versed in various types of world cuisine. We had a version of this dish on the menu regularly as the resort was located in the state of Washington and we had nearly an endless supply of fresh seafood. Usually we would add crab legs, but I had purchased these high quality mussel meats a while back and had wanted to use them up in something. This seemed like a great option for them. I had thought about purchasing some fresh mussels too, because I think it looks better and is more authentic, but I live in an inland state and did not feel it was necessary. Many variations of this kind of recipe will include saffron, but I didn’t have any on hand, so I left it out. And a note about the wine, make sure it’s white and on the drier side. Anything you like to drink using those guidelines will go well in this recipe. Here are the ingredients:

  • 2 links chorizo
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions, white parts chopped
  • 3 heaping tbl smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chile de arbol
  • 7-8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6oz can tomato paste
  • 1/2 bottle dry white wine
  • 32oz chicken stock, low sodium
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 heaping cup mussel meats
  • chives, garnish
  • sour cream, garnish
  • salt

Begin by placing a large saucepot on medium heat. Remove the chorizo(1) from the casing and start to saute and brown. When that is about half cooked, add your onions(2), and scallion whites(3) to the pot. Continue to saute for another 4-5 minutes until the onions are nice and soft. In the second picture you can see ‘fond.’ Fond is caramelization and contributes immensely to the finished flavor of the dish. You can add some water to the pan if you’re worried about it burning. Add the paprika(4) and chile de arbol(5), and toast the spices for one minute. Then, add the garlic(6) and saute for another minute. Add the tomato paste(7) and stir well, and continue to cook for two more minutes. The mixture will be quite thick and be sure to stir often so as not to burn it. Next, add your wine(8). You’ll want to cook this for awhile to reduce and concentrate flavor, and also to burn off the alcohol. Simmer for 5-6 minutes. Add your chicken stock(9) and bring to a boil, then down to a simmer. Add your diced potatoes(10), and heat until they’re about three quarters done. Add your corn(11) and mussel meats(12). Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Turn off the heat and enjoy! Garnish with sour cream and chives, or the green parts of your scallions. The broth should be rather intense so the sour cream is a nice way to balance that out. This soup will keep well and continue to get better the longer that it sits in the fridge.

Cooking on a budget: Curried Lentil soup

Lentil soup with chives and labneh

Lentils are another great ingredient for low cost cooking and meal prep. I love them in soups as they blend and thicken very nicely. In addition, they taste sort of basic and neutral so they pair well with many other ingredients. Start this recipe by preheating the oven to 400F. You’ll also need a large sauce pot as you’ll be blending the soup later with an immersion blender.

Ingredients for this recipe are as follows:

  • 1 butternut squash, cut in half
  • 1/2 red onion, medium dice
  • 1 white onion, medium dice
  • 1 apple, medium dice
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 white button mushrooms
  • 3 jalapeños
  • 2 medium sized carrots
  • olive oil, salt and pepper
  • 2 tbl high quality curry powder
  • 1 cup cooked shredded chicken,
  • 2 russet potatoes, cooked, peeled, diced
  • 1 cups lentils, cooked
  • 2 quarts chicken stock, low sodium (if vegetarian, use vegetable stock)
  • small bunch of chives, for garnish
  • labneh, for garnish

Begin by roasting your butternut squash, mushrooms, red onions, and jalapeños. Lightly coat in olive oil and roast until tender. Scoop the seeds out of the squash and discard. Remove the seeds and pith from the jalapeños. You can leave some if you like a little more heat in the finished product. Set aside.

In the sauce pot, add olive oil, and white onion, apple, carrots, and some salt. Sweat over medium heat for about 8-10 minutes, then add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.

Set aside some of the cooked vegetables in a small bowl, for later. Add 1 cup of the lentils to the pot, and then add the curry powder and toast the veggies and lentils to open up the oils in the spice.

Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add half of the cooked potatoes to help thicken the soup. Turn off the heat and plug in your immersion blender if you’ve got one and begin pureeing the soup. If you’ve only got a stand up blender, blend the soup in batches.

Once the soup is pureed, taste for seasoning and add accordingly. Next, mix in the veggies you cooked earlier, the shredded chicken, and the diced potatoes. Ladle the soup into a bowl or your meal prep containers, and then garnish with snipped chives, and a dollop of labneh.