The Best Lentil Dish Ever – with Chorizo, Harissa, and Shrimp
I would like to tell you about the day I’ve had. It was a day that started out like every other day except for the small matter of an appointment for a physical in the afternoon. No big deal. Everyone should get poked and prodded in a medical sort of way at least once a year. Except…this is a big year for me. I’m turning 40 and apparently everything changes…again! Just when you think you know your body, it gets older and shifts a little here and there. Then you find yourself wondering just who that person is in the mirror looking back at you.
Everything checked out just fine but I now have to reschedule for blood tests and a mammogram (because I’m old) next week. I should have kept my mouth shut when the doctor said I was ‘only 39’ and so I had one more year until I had to put my girls through the torture machine (she didn’t say that, I’m just dramatic in nature). “Nope,” I said with a big stupid smile on my face…”I’ll be 40 next week!” The words were right out of my mouth before I could even think of the possible consequences. And now, here I am. I will wait until I’m 40 to book the appointment just for kicks.
So, the afternoon was a bit stressful. The evening got worse. There’s nothing like bringing your baby boy to his high school open house to add salt to old wounds. I never had any problems with any of the kids going to school before but for some reason the prospect of my baby being in high school next year really got to me.
Is it a little bit presumptuous to entitle a blog post beginning with ‘The Best … Dish Ever’? I just really want to emphasize that this dish is perfect in every way. From the earthiness and texture of the Umbrian lentils, to the acidity of the San Marzano tomatoes, and the spice from the harissa and chorizo which was declared by my 16 year old to be ‘just perfect’.
After the open house we all arrived back home absolutely starving. It was 9 pm and I was just finishing up cooking the shrimp so I couldn’t really tell if the boys enjoyed their dinner or not. It was over much too quickly for them to even lift their heads from their bowls to breathe, let alone grunt their approval. My daughter, who had eaten earlier, did pile on the compliments allowing me a tiny bit of solace in an otherwise trying day. This dish? It’s a bowl of comfort and you can’t go wrong serving it to finish off a rather crazy day.
Ingredients (from taste.com.au)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp garlic, minced
- 1 chorizo sausage, chopped
- 1 tablespoon harissa
- 400g can chopped tomatoes (I used San Marzanos..if you can find them this is the perfect recipe to highlight their flavour)
- 2 x 400g cans brown lentils, rinsed, drained (I had dried Umbrian lentils; they looked brown to me so I just cooked those separately until the were just about cooked)
- 220g jar roasted red capsicums, drained, sliced
- 1 cup (250ml) chicken stock or water
- 500g peeled green prawns (tails intact)
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and chorizo, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes until the onion softens and the chorizo starts to crisp. Add garlic. Stir in harissa and cook for a further minute. Add tomatoes, lentils, capsicum and stock, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes until the mixture has thickened slightly.
Season the prawns with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, then add to the pan. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the prawns are just cooked through. Stir in the parsley,