We have loads of places to eat out where we work – a hot spot of Cheshire gastronomy called Altrincham. The reasonably recent redevelopment of the market House has been featured extensively in the press and various food magazines. As a consequence to the redevelopment of the Market and surrounding area (the Stamford Quarter) it’s also given rise to some pretty good eateries. One of which is called Porta, a tapas bar who also have a place in Chester. The menu is kept simple which is always encouraging and the place is always rammed as a testament to the quality of the food. I’ve pretty much worked my way through their menu a couple of times and also had a go at recreating a couple of their dishes.
So far I’ve done purple sprouting broccoli with romesco sauce, soon to be posted. Secreto Iberico – Seared pork with mojo verde – already posted, Fried Padron peppers with Maldon salt – posted a while back and also their take on Chorizo and Lentil stew as detailed below. The rest of their menu is pretty standard in terms of tapas – sliced meat and cheese with the exception of a couple of things I’m soon to have a crack at…
The Chorizo and lentil stew sounds pretty boring but turns out to be amaze balls. It’s also quite expensive (£5.50!) for what’s essentially green lentils, some veg and a decent chorizo in a small tapas bowl which is why I thought I’d have a go at making my own. I’ve seen a couple of recipes for this, one of which comes from a book called “Casa Moro” Link below) which is by the couple confusingly both names Sam that own Moro in London. Their recipe has the addition of Morcilla (Spanish Black pudding) but I don’t think they add this in the Porta version. Which is good as I don’t have any….yet. I used some run of the mill black pudding and it worked pretty well.
I also don’t have the Tocino which is essentially Pig fat so instead used some of the fat off of some Serrano ham I had kicking about. In addition to this I didn’t have any ñoras peppers that their recipe calls for – I’ve since found out the ñoras peppers are a main part of what Spanish paprika is made out of. So I used a brand of paprika called “Santo Domingo” which is a sweet variety although I could have also used a brand call La Chinata as they also provide the same sweet option. So essentially I’ve missed out quite a few of the key ingredients or substituted them as best I can. Upshot of all this is it really tastes good. I’ll post how the addition of the actual ingredients goes when I get hold of them.
Anyhoo, here’s the recipe I followed. Or not.
4 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
2 sweet chorizo, cut into 1 cm cubes
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 medium carrots, diced
100 grams tocino, cut into small pieces 1 cm. x 2cm. (Tocino is hard pig fat, used to give flavour to a lot of Spanish soups and stews. If you cannot get hold of it, use slices of jamon instead).
2 garlic cloves, thinly-sliced
2 bay leaves (preferably fresh)
2 dried ñoras peppers, seeds and stalks removed, broken into small pieces and covered with boiling water or 2 tablespoons of smoked sweet paprika.
250 grams dried lentils, brown or green
1 morcilla (Spanish black sausage)/Black pudding cut into 1 cm cubes
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)
sea salt and black pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a high heat. When starting to smoke, add the chorizo and fry until the oil seeps out and the sausages are near brown.
Remove the chorizo from the pan as it’ll start to burn and set the heat to medium.
Add the onion, carrots, tocino/ham fat with a pinch of salt. Fry for about 10 minutes until the vegetables have softened, are sweet and beginning to get some colour.
Chuck in the garlic, bay leaves, and drained ñoras peppers/Paprika powder and cook for a couple more minutes.
Return the chorizo to the pan, add the lentils and cubed morcillas/black pudding at the same time.
Cover the lentil/veg/sausage mixture with one ltr of water, bring to a boil and quickly reduce to a gentle simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until lentils are tender. Add a little extra water if the liquid falls below the surface of the lentils.
Season with salt and pepper, and optionally serve with the parsley on top and an extra dash of olive oil.
Serves while hot…