Spicy Lentil Soup

Serves 4-6

1 cup green lentils (Le Puy)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 1/2 ounces dried Spanish chorizo sausage, finely minced (about 1/3 cup)
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 cup dry red wine
14 ounces canned diced tomatoes, with juice
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon sweet smoked Spanish paprika (pimenton dulce)
Dried red pepper flakes (optional)
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large saucepan, bring 6 cups of water to a boil, add the lentil and simmer for about 25 minutes, until the lentils are tender but still firm.

Drain the lentils and reserve all of the cooking liquid.

While the lentils are cooking, in a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over a medium heat and sauté the chorizo sauce for about 1- 2 minutes. Remove the chorizo and set aside, then sauté the onion in the oil for about 8-10 minutes, until the onion is soft and lightly browned. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for 1-2 minutes.

Pour the wine in the stockpot, stir well and simmer over a medium heat until most of the wine has been cooked off, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, paprika, and pinch of red pepper flakes (if using) and salt to taste.

Simmer the tomato mixture until the it has thickened slightly, about 10 –15 minutes. Stir in the cooked lentils and add reserved lentil cooking liquid, adding enough liquid to create the desired thickness of the soup. Simmer for 5 minutes over a low heat, stirring occasionally. Add the minced chorizo to taste, and simmer an additional 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve lentil soup with hot crusty bread and a crisp green salad.