Soak the lentils for half an hour. Even though small lentils in packets usually don't need soaking, Spanish women tend to soak anyway
Cut the ham and chorizo into dice-shaped pieces. Peel and wash the carrots and potatoes. Slice the carrots and halve the potatoes (unless they are very small). Wash and slice a small red pepper (optional).
Drain the lentils and put them in a saucepan. Add enough water to cover them and add the ham, chorizo, carrots, potatoes, bayleaf, pepper, parsley, a little salt, saffron and wine. Also add the cloves if you want the lentils to have a slightly spicey air to them. Put the pan over a low heat and cover.
Slice the onion and garlic and fry, stirring all the time. After a minute or so, add the sliced red pepper. This is optional and adds a slightly sweet flavour to the lentejas. When soft, add to the other ingredients in the saucepan.
Let the lentil stew simmer for at least 40 minutes. Boil off any excess liquid at the end.
Vegetarian Spanish lentils: To make a vegetarian version of Spanish lentil soup, just substitute the chorizo and ham for more vegetables. We recommend adding a little celery (not the leaves), 3 artichokes (without the stalk and outer leaves and cut into halves), 100gr wild mushrooms (if you can get any, otherwise normal ones, washed and sliced), a sprig of rosemary, a piece of lemon peel and a pinch of nutmeg and a pinch of sweet paprika. Put all of these into the saucepan in step 3. You may also like to add a vegtable stock cube.