Thursday, 14 November 2013

Sausages with Warm French Lentils

Ahhh Autumn - the days get shorter, the evenings chillier, and cravings of sausages for dinner become infinitely more justifiable. 

This dish is one that I often find myself returning to at this time of year. It gives you all the curl-up-in-your-pyjamas-with-a-glass-of-wine comfort of sausages and mash, minus the feelings of over-indulgence afterwards. 

The lentils are cooked with onion and carrots, and dressed in a french vinaigrette. I also add some chopped spinach at the last minute, to up the nutritional content and make it a complete meal. I adapted the recipe from this original one by Ina Garten. If you have any lentils leftover, they'll make a delicious cold salad for lunch the next day. 

I won't give you any instructions for cooking the sausages - because that would be silly and, quite frankly, I expect more from you! But I will say this: I prefer to use good quality chipolatas for this recipe - they somehow make the whole dish a little more refined and, dare I say it, French. 

     Makes 4 servings

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 2 carrots, scrubbed and 1/2-inch-diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 cup brown lentils or green Puy lentils
  • 1 whole onion, peeled finely diced
  • a few handfuls of fresh baby spinach, washed and roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper


Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saute pan, add the onion and carrots, and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cook for 1 more minute, and then set aside.
Meanwhile, place the lentils and 4 cups of water (or vegetable stock, if you have it) in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are almost tender. Add the chopped spinach, as well as the onion and carrot mixture, for the last few minutes of cooking. Place all of this in a medium sized bowl and add the butter.
Meanwhile, whisk together the 1/4 cup of olive oil, the mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Pour this over the lentils, stir well, and allow the lentils to cool until just warm, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and serve. (The longer the lentils sit, the more salt and pepper you'll want to add, so beware of this).
I hope it soon becomes an Autumn staple in your kitchen! 

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