This week has been quite an uphill task, especially after the holidays. My brain is not quite functioning at its optimum. My heart’s still in Penang, lusting after late mornings and leisurely brunches. This happens every time we return from a trip. And then my hubby and I talk about how we miss the good times while we conjure up ideas about our next adventure and escape. Such is life. Our lives. So, as the brain is not quite it’s usual, my food inspiration is very limited ( and so is my zest to clear the laundry!) This soup/stew recipe was created just moments before the actual cooking started as opposed to planning out our meals a few days in advance. I bought some pork chorizo sausages on a whim a few days ago. The flavours of chorizo are more for a cold day. So, I decided to include a few summer vegetables (as they are plentiful in the supermarket now) and a splash of lemon juice to brighten the smoky chorizo flavour. And et voilá- it turned out really good, if I may say so myself. The soup has a very fresh flavour from the vegetable stock, summer vegetables and lemon juice and a smoky background flavour.
Serves 3-4 (as main course)
- 3 pork/chicken chorizo sausages, skin removed
- 1 large stalk celery, chopped, medium-sized
- 1 medium carrot, chopped,medium-sized
- 1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped,medium-sized (optional)
- 1/2 zucchini, chopped,medium-sized
- 1 yellow capsicum, chopped,medium-sized
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1 medium red onion, roughly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced/grated
- 1 inch knob of young ginger, grated
- 1 sprig rosemary/thyme
- 1 sprig sage leaves
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1-1.5 litres vegetable stock
- 1-2 tsp pimenton de la vera/ mild smoked paprika (optional)
- salt and pepper
- Juice of 1/4 or 1/2 lemon
- 3 tbsp plain flour
- knob of butter
- olive oil
- Chopped flat leaf parsley and mint leaves
Chop all the vegetables into approximately, equal, bite-sized chunks so that they cook evenly. The zucchini can be chopped into slightly thicker chunks than the carrot as they cook quite quickly.
In a medium/large soup pot or casserole, over medium heat, add a knob of butter or a about 3 tbsp of olive oil. Once the bubbles have subsided add the flour and cook till roux turns a light brown. This helps to thicken the soup. Add enough butter/oil to just form a slightly loose mixture, not too much.
Next, over medium high heat,add chorizo meat and break the meat up into bite-sized chunks. Brown the meat slightly. Make sure you do not fully cook them at this stage as they would be overcooked and tough at the end.
Push meat to one side of the pot. Add onion and saute till they soften. Then add garlic,ginger and red chilli. You could add a little more olive oil if you find the meat sticking to the bottom.
Add the rest of the vegetables, season with 2 pinches of salt and pepper and partially cook them for about 2 minutes.
Add stock, rosemary,sage, bay leaf and pimenton de la vera.The pimenton de la vera enhances to smoky flavours of the chorizo but leave it out if your chorizos already have a very smoky flavour. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes over medium-low flame, until vegetables are cooked.
Taste and season. Add lemon juice. Again, this is optional. I liked the ‘brightening’ flavour the lemon juice added.
Garnish with chopped flat-leaf parsley and mint. Sprinkle some pimenton, if you like.
Enjoy with some warm toast or plain basmati rice.
- For a vegetarian/vegan alternative, use canned chickpeas and kidney beans instead of chorizo and add the pimenton de la vera/smoked paprika for the smoky background flavour.
- Pimenton de la vera is a Spanish smoked paprika and you could get it in any speciality store. I bought mine from Jones the Grocer in Dempsey Rd. The smell and flavour from it is heavenly. Great sprinkled over hummus or dips and for grilled meats. You could substitute it with smoked paprika.
- You could use chicken stock instead of vegetable but I wanted to enhance the vegetable flavour more than the meat. It’s really up to you and what you have in your fridge.