Friday, December 07, 2007

Frugal Food: Lentils with Chorizo

At my supermarket (bless it!), lentils cost $.89 per pound. A pound of lentils is a lot of lentils. That means lentil dishes are super-cheap. They're also really healthy and great comfort food for the winter.

So I made up this delicious, semi-spicy lentil stew with chorizo last weekend, and it's been lunch all week. Delicious.

1 lb lentils ($.89)
1 medium white onion (about $.75)
2 big cans (28 oz, I think) of crushed tomatoes (about $3)
1 bottle wine (optional! mine was a gift, but you can get a perfectly decent bottle for $7. And I used white, because I had it, and it's tasty, but I might go with a red next time)
2 bullion cubes (about $.50--but you might want to go with canned broth if you didn't use wine)
5 links chorizo (or whatever sausage you like) (about $4)

Dice one onion. Sweat it in some olive oil (you could add garlic, too, but we were out) until the onions start getting translucent. Dump in a can of crushed tomatoes. (You could use two cans if you're not using wine--more tasty liquids for the lentils to suck up.) Spice to taste: I used chili powder, cumin, and oregano. And lots of salt and pepper. Let simmer for 5-10 minutes. Rinse your lentils, pick out any nasty bits, and add them to the pot. Cover, let simmer over low heat. Check on the lentils every forty-five minutes or so. If they've sucked up all the liquid in the pot, give them more. I used a bottle of white wine that was kicking around my fridge, and then moved on to bullion cubes dissolved in water. (If you use wine, cook uncovered for awhile, so you don't retain the alcoholic burn.) You might want to use real broth/stock if you're not using wine, because the flavor's better. When the lentils have been simmering for about two hours, brown your sausage of choice briefly in a skillet (you just want to get some color on it, not cook it all the way through) and toss it in with the lentils. If it's pre-cooked, just slice it and dump it in.

Take your lentils off the heat just before they hit the texture you like. Mine cooked about 3 hours. The result is a delicious, slightly spicy, very filling frugal meal that gets better as it sits in the fridge all week.

We've gotten six lunches out of this so far. And we've still got lentils in the fridge! So let's say we'll get 8 servings out of it--the cost would be less than $2/serving with the wine (I estimated the price at $7, just because I'd be perfectly happy to use a $7 bottle of wine when making this again).


Mrs. Micah said...

That sounds delicious! I love cooking with lentils and they seem to go so well with sausage. I think this will be one of our dinners this week. :)

Cinnamon J. Scudworth said...

3 hours to cook lentils? That's odd - they're not supposed to take more than 30 minutes on simmer.

Anonymous said...

Just a thought, for cooking you don't need high quality wine... less than $7 should be okay : )

SavingDiva said...

That sounds good...

hazygrey said...

This sounds yummy, I want to try it. Does it matter if you use green or red lentils?

Lori E said...

Here's a tip I recently discovered: Acidic foods, like tomatoes and lemons, inhibit cooking of beans. So if you cook the lentils separately they should only take 20-30 minutes, and then you can continue with the next steps. This has saved me a lot of time, now I precook all beans before assembling the rest of the recipe.

Anonymous said...

I tried this out. Turned out great and reheats well! I used fire-roasted tomatoes to add a little more flavor. Great recipe, thanks for sharing.

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Anonymous said...

Very tasty and frugal too! I seasoned with oregano, thyme, and something I found in my cupboard labeled "Italian Seasoning". Instead of chorizo I used hot Italian sausage and all I can say is "Yum!" Next time I'll try it with chorizo :) Thanks for the recipe!