Travelling through the Salta province in Argentina, we pulled over at the side of the road near the town of Cafayate to sample a regional specialty: llama salami. Served alongside local quesos de cabra (goat cheese), the cured llama meat had a darker, earthier flavour than traditional pork. We figured ‘why not’ and purchased a link. I hadn’t quite figured out what to make of my llama salami that reminded me of its presence each time I opened the fridge. A friend mentioned she was preparing chorizo lentil soup for dinner and I thought, well, why not llama and lentils. This is a hearty soup to warm your belly on a cool fall evening. You can certainly substitute cured chorizo in the recipe below.
TIP: when chopping the salami and squash, think about spoon size. The pieces don’t need to be tiny, but they should fit into a spoon for easy dining.
1 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
250g llama salami
a good glug (about 1/2 cup) of red wine, Malbec suggested
2 400g can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups lentils
1 cup diced acorn or butternut squash
5 cups (1250ml) chicken stock
roughly grated Reggiano cheese (or firm Argentinean goat’s cheese if you are trying to stay true to terroir)
Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallot, garlic and salami. Fry for about 10 min, until shallot is softened and salami fat has started to render.
Add red wine. Cook off for about 5 minutes.
Add canned tomatoes, lentils, squash and chicken stock. Cook at a gentle boil for about 20 minutes, until squash is tender and lentils are al dente (you don’t want them to turn to mush!).
Serve with grated cheese on top and crusty bread on the side. If you can source it, a slightly chilled glass of Colomé Estate Malbec would pair nicely.