Comfort food is most definitely called for at the moment (in Cape Town at least) and this is one of the simplest, most delicious things you can make. Use the best quality lentils you can (I like the Puy lentils for their pepperiness) and chorizo with a good fat content (what chorizo doesn’t, right?). You can substitute the chorizo for a really good quality beef or pork or lamb sausages (Woolies has amazing varieties at the moment) but don’t use boerewors as the flavour will overwhelm the dish. I have given exact amounts so double up the ingredients if you’ve got a few people (six or more) coming round. Serve with crusty white bread and a green leaf salad with a good vinaigrette.
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large celery stick, chopped
1 carrot, finely diced
two cups of Puy lentils
a whole chorizo sausage (large) or eight to ten good quality Italian or other sausages (not viennas!)
half to a full cup of sweet white wine
salt and pepper to taste
a dash of smoked Spanish paprika or regular paprika (optional)
chopped fresh parsley to garnish
Prepare the lentils ahead by soaking in water for half an hour or so or put some olive oil in a pot, add the lentils and stir them around to get coated in olive oil, then cover with water and slow boil for half an hour or until most of the liquid is absorbed. In a heavy-based pan, sauté the onion, garlic, carrot and celery in olive oil, then add the chorizo (sliced) or whole sausages, browning them nicely. Add the wine and a bit of water, turn down the heat and let it simmer for around ten minutes or so. Add salt and pepper and paprika then throw in the lentils. Add a bit more wine or water if it’s looking too dry and let it reduce to a nice sauce with a gravy-like consistency. Add parsley for garnish before serving. Yummy.