food with sam mannering
A heartwarming dish of sausages and lentils is made all the more satisfying by the minimal washing up afterwards.
This is almost a lazy cassoulet, but probably more Italian than French. It’s not the sort of argument I’d want to start, regardless. You could replace the lentils for haricot beans if you’re feeling more authentic. There is something quite heartwarming about creating a dish like this, the way it begins and ends in the same pot. It’s all too satisfying, especially when you’re like me and hate washing up.
I have a love affair with Puy lentils; I find them innately comforting. The better the sausages, the better the end result. Funny that. Look out for L’Authentique – they do a superb range of proper, no-nonsense snarlers (beef, pork, Toulouse, and so on) – they’re stunning.
SAUSAGES WITH LENTILS
Prep time: 15 mins / Cook time: 1 hour Serves: 4 Olive oil 4 cloves garlic, sliced 1 onion, peeled and sliced 3 bay leaves Couple of sprigs of rosemary 50g prosciutto or streaky bacon, roughly chopped 450g good beef or pork sausages (see above) 150ml red wine 450g tin cherry tomatoes ½ tsp chilli flakes 300g dried Puy or green lentils, rinsed 600ml good beef or chicken stock Salt and pepper In a large, lidded, flameproof casserole over a moderate heat, add a little olive oil and allow it to heat up before adding the garlic, onion, bay and rosemary. Cook gently for several minutes until onion is soft and translucent, then add the prosciutto or bacon and continue to cook for 2-3 more minutes until it is crisp and the fat has melted down. In the meantime, heat a frying pan over a moderate heat, add a bit of oil and quickly fry the sausages until they are nicely browned on the outside. Add them to the onion mixture and bring up the heat a little. Pour in the red wine and let it bubble up and reduce a bit before adding the cherry tomatoes, chilli flakes, lentils, stock and a bit of salt and pepper. Give everything a good stir and leave to simmer with the lid on for about 45 minutes, until the lentils are tender. There shouldn’t be much liquid left but, if it seems a bit too runny, continue to simmer for 5 minutes or so with the lid off.
Serve immediately, with a gutsy red and perhaps some good bread on the side to mop up the sauce.