I think I loved Spanish cuisine before I had a Spanish brother-in-law; however, his presence in my life has certainly embellished my Spanish recipe collection. One of my favorite things about this cuisine is their use of pork. It flavors so many of their rich dishes and is definitely a staple in most Spanish households.
The influence of many cultures can be found in Spanish recipes. Take, for instance, sopa de lentajas, a lovely dish of chorizo, potatoes, and lentils. The lentils, likely being an influence from the Middle East/Africa, and the rich pork chorizo, being atruly Spanish ingredient, play well together. This dish is rich, flavorful, and hearty. I’ve enjoyed many variations with this one being my own personal take on it. Traditionally made with chorizo link sausage, lentejas can also be made with bulk sausage, which gives it a thick stew-like texture. One of the most important ingredients in lentejas is Spanish paprika (pimentón)—a smoky spice made from red peppers. It comes in sweet or hot and provides a wonderful flavor profile in any pork dish.