So, after all the excited newscasters telling us for days there would be the most snow in, like, a Million years, we got, a few days ago, a delicate smattering of the cold stuff; a dusting of squeaky white icing on trees and letterboxes and rooves and cars.
Enough to make me smile at this cute little bike, not enough unfortunately to mean gigantic snow drifts stood impassable in the way of my commute to the office. Enough for kids to create snowball crossfire across the morning streets; not enough to hold out until lunchtime before becoming soot-coloured slush. Enough, though, to make it feel wintery enough to search out the lentils and make this humble but classic dish from my childhood:
Oh I know, there's lentil and sausages a plenty in the cookbooks and gastropubs of the day. But we've been eating this in the saucepan household since I can remember. We've had it on Christmas day, we've had it with friends and without, for celebrations and just for long weekend meals. It's always been a 'treat' food, despite its rustic simplicity, and the unglamourous basis of lentils - how many children have lentils as the basis of their favourite food?...
And although I know there are a myriad variations i could do, I like it just like this. So I'll put the recipe here so you can see if you do too.
Lentils with Chorizo
Lentille vertes - check the packet for per person quantities and then add some; it's good cold too if you're not greedy enough to eat it all (Btw - I don't know why similar recipes call for puy lentils - they seem to be much the same, just more expensive. The little lentille vertes do fine for me - not to be mixed up with green lentils, which are bigger, flatter and more mushy)
A few sticks of celery
(Optional - any other bits of vegetable you want to use up such as an old pepper or some cauliflower leaves, etc.)
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
4 or 5 bay leaves
A splash of red wine
A ring of chorizo (or two little ones like you get in Sainsburys)
Stock (or even just hot water, as the chorizo adds lots of flavour)
Salt and pepper
Chop all the veggies into small-ish dice and the chorizo into discs or half-discs, depending on your preference.
Sweat off the onion in some olive oil in a big deep pan, then add carrot, celery and garlic. Cook, stirring, until softened a little.
Add the lentils and stir round til coated in oil and vegetables.
Add splash of wine and stock enough to cover generously.
Add chorizo and bay leaves
Bring to the boil then simmer for about 30-40 minutes until lentils are cooked to taste. Season
Serve with potatoes (to mash in the juice) or crusty white bread. A green veggy or fresh salad will go nicely too.
p.s. apologies for those extremely unphotogenic potatoes. Actually, it's not much of a looker of a dish all round. Trust me though on this one - it tastes good.