Lentils with Sausage and Beans
It’s getting cold and dark, well kind of. Although the weather has actually been surprisingly decent for the past few days we’re now very much in stew territory. We’re coming towards my favourite time of the year. The time when you can sit in front of the fire with a bowl of stew and a glass of wine and listen to the howling wind outside. Maybe I have a romantic view of the winter, I don’t particularly enjoy it when I’m freezing cold and trying to remove the ice from my car window in the morning, but it’s easy to have that view now when it hasn’t quite arrived. This winter will be an interesting one for me. Ali and myself really enjoy the run up to Christmas; planning decorations, presents and most importantly, the menu, but just after the new year I’ll be off on a little adventure, to Ballymaloe Cookery School. I can’t wait, despite how hard it will be to have such limited time with Ali, Penny and the cats, it’s something that I’ve been looking forward to for a few years now and the time has finally come to make the big change.
This recipe came about in an unusual manner. I bought half a pig last year and made lots of different things. Although most of them came out quite nice, one batch of sausages were a disaster (actually two batches but more about that another time). In my head it seemed so simple – apple with pork is a classic and sage is always good too. So I decided to make cider and sage sausages. I didn’t think too much about amounts, taking my usual “just chuck it in” approach. The result was a sausage with far too much cider, leaving that distinctive aftertaste, not ideal for a sausage. Needing to use these sausages up I decided the best course of action would be to boil them and then cut them to let the excess cider run off – genius. If you are using
standard nice sausages you can leave out the boiling if you wish and add them whole at the same point I added the sliced ones.
4 Pork Sausages
2 tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 Onion (finely chopped)
1 stick of Celery (finely chopped)
1 Carrot (finely chopped)
1 Bay Leaf
250g Giant Green Lentils (or standard green lentils)
800ml Chicken Stock
1 tin (400g) of Butter Beans (drained)
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
1. If using horrible homemade cider and sage sausages: Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and add the sausages. Boil until cooked through and set aside until cool enough to handle. Slice thinly, allowing the excess cider to run off.
2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the onion, celery, carrot and bay leaf. Season well with salt and pepper and cook for 5-7 minutes to soften before adding the sausage and cooking for another 3-4 minutes.
3. Add the lentils and stock. Stir, bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover the pan and simmer for 30-40 minutes until the lentils are tender adding the beans about ten minutes before the end. Check for seasoning and serve with some good crusty bread.