We were given the leftover sausages from a family brunch yesterday and I thought they’d go nicely with roasted potatoes with thyme. We stayed with friends in Hampshire over Christmas and lovely Tammy made these really easy and delicious roasted sliced potatoes with onion – I can’t stop thinking about them (she served them with a glazed ham and Jamie Oliver Parsley sauce).
But Lexie doesn’t do potatoes unless they’re chips (weirdo) so I decided lentils would go further plus they are packed full of iron. They take a little bit of time to cook so I usually make a lot, it definitely tastes better after a day or too and it keeps well in the fridge. This dish will make a great lunch or dinner for Lexie throughout the week. The first time I had it was at my best friend Millie’s house – she did sausage and lentil casserole with yummy baked potatoes.
It was bubbling away while I did Lexie’s bedtime and once she was asleep we ate it calmly and in a very civilised fashion, with no interruptions and with a really nice glass of Rioja (Rioja Labarca Finca from Waitrose). We then had salad and cheese followed by chocolate chip cookies for pudding. These are delicious – Lewis pre-made and froze them in little balls. It’s amazing!! You put the little balls on a baking tray and they’re done in 10 minutes. A little bit addictive (oh I’ll just bake another cookie!).
Sausage and lentil casserole
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 40 mins
- Green lentils – rinsed if need be
- 2 small onions – chopped
- 1 peeled carrot – 1/2 chopped into little bits, 1/2 chopped into big chunks
- 1/2 stick chopped celery
- Tin of tomatos
- 1 glass of wine – optional
- 2 rashers of chopped bacon
- 1 chicken stock cube
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 peeled chopped potato – fluffy maris piper type one, big chunks
Start by making a sofrito – this is the base for most Spanish pot cooking. A standard sofrito is just onion, celery and carrot but because I want bacon in this dish I started by frying the bacon first with olive oil in a heavy based pan, like a Le Creuset. Then add the onion, celery and finely chopped carrot and cook on a gentle heat, you want the onions to go squidgy and translucent not browned. Adding salt at this stage helps the onions release their juices but I left it out so the dish is less salty for Lex. Cook for minimum 20 minutes on this low heat. What my mum often does is cook the sofrito for 20 ish minutes then turn it off and leave it covered for 30 mins – 1 hour – the softer the onions the better.
Once you’re happy with your sofrito add your lentils, big chunks of carrot, stock cube, bay leaf, glass of wine and tomatoes. I used red wine but it doesn’t really matter. I do recommend sieving the tomatoes a bit to get rid of some of the juice, makes the sauce less acidy. The carrot is also natural sweetener which helps to counteract the acidity of the tomatoes. Top up with water, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered or partially covered. Do keep checking the lentils – they absorb loads of liquid – keep adding water if need be.
After 20 minutes add the potato. A little bit of potato added to lentils gives a lovely consistency, also helps reduce the tomatoes acidity and adds some welcome vitamin C. Cook for another 20-30 minutes and it should be done. Because my sausages were leftovers, I added them in with the potato, sliced, but I’ve made this dish many times before cooking the sausages from scratch, either fried or roasted in the oven and added at the end. It’s also delicious without any meat for anyone who is veggie and another day I’ll post my lentil and chorizo stew because that one really is also lovely without the chorizo.
- A nice variation taught to me by my 97 year old granny-in-law is to make this exactly the same recipe but omitting the tomato, potato and wine (extra stock to make up the liquid). When the lentils are cooked add a spoonful of dijon mustard and stir around. Serve with chipolatas!