Ingredients (makes 2 portions)
4 good-quality sausages
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp tomato purée
¼ tsp fennel seeds
125g green Puy-style lentils
350ml stock (vegetable or chicken), prepared and set aside in a jug
A sprig of thyme or rosemary, or a bay leaf, or a sprinkle of dried mixed herbs at a push
8 button mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced in half
Small handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
And how to do it...
Heat 1tbsp oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Brown the sausages on all sides. Set aside.
Pour in enough of the stock (or, better, the dregs of a bottle of red if you have any at hand) to cover the bottom of the pan and bring to the boil, scraping off all the sticky bits on the bottom with a wooden spoon. Pour this mixture back into the rest of the stock and reserve.
Wipe the saucepan with a kitchen towel, then heat 1 tbsp oil over a medium heat. Sweat the onion until softened. Add the crushed garlic and cook 2 minutes more, then add the fennel seeds and fry for another 30 seconds. Add the tomato puree and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until it darkens slightly in colour.
Return the sausages to the pan with the lentils, stock and whatever herbs you’ve got. If the stock doesn’t cover everything, add more water, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes until the sausages are cooked through, the lentils tender, and the sauce reduced and thickened. Stir occasionally and add water if the stew is getting too dry.
About 5 minutes before everything looks ready, stir in the parsley and mushrooms. Taste and season if necessary before serving with a green salad and some crusty bread to mop up the sauce.
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