I’ve always been a fan of things you can whack into a large pan and walk away from. Leave to potter and simmer and come together whilst you crack on with one or two of the other things that demand your time.
This stew is one such dish. It takes about 35-45 minutes to cook and no time at all to prepare. It sits happily on the stove while you crack on with those emails, feeding the cat, ironing or whatever. I served it last weekend for my film-maker friend, Mike, who kindly came round to give me a photography lesson. Followed by a slice of plum and pear pie, I suppose it was really a bribe to trek East and patiently explain clever things about light sources and let me try out some better lenses. But it is also exactly the kind of food I crave on days like these, when it starts to get dark around 4.30 in the afternoon and the heating needs to be whacked up. In fact, it was the perfect meal before heading off to see the Guy Fawkes fireworks on Blackheath.
Lentils and sausages are of course very good friends and I for one have always thought of them as a particularly Germanic combo. Not that there is anything wrong with that, of course, but I think this recipe is a fresher, spicier take than the wurst you too might be familiar with.
Sausage and Lentil Stew with Fennel and Paprika
Serves 3 hungry people
You will need:
6 Sausages (preferably of the stronger, Italian variety- I used fennel and chili)
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp smoky paprika
300g green lentils (not puy please)
700ml chicken stock
A handful of parsley
1. Slice the onions and fry them in a large stewing pot over a medium high heat. They should begin to caramelise ever so slightly.
2. Meanwhile, brown the sausages all over in a separate frying.
3. Add the minced garlic, fennel seeds and paprika to your pot and stir for about a minute.
4. Add the sausages, passata and stock. Stir together.
5. Add the lentils and cook over a low, simmering heat until the sauce has reduced slightly and the lentils are cooked through. They should absorb a fair bit of the liquid. This should take about 40 minutes.
6. Plate up into large bowls, scatter with chopped parsley and plenty of black pepper. Serve with chunky bread.