What with the spell of snowy weather we’ve been having in the UK I thought something warm and comforting would be great to ward off the winter chill. This recipe’s from Jamie Oliver’s Italy. It’s like a posh version of sausages, ketchup and beans.
I made a few tweaks to it:
- I halved the amount of tomatoes, lentils and sausages but kept the amounts the same for all the other ingredients.
- I reduced the sauce for 45 instead of 30 minutes (by accident – I was distracted with roasting potatoes), but it turned out pretty delicious anyway! In fact, I think the sauce was yummier for the extra cooking time.
- I didn’t have any Italian or Lincolnshire sausages so I used some pork and apple sausages instead.
- I didn’t bother with the broccoli side dish.
It turned out great! The lentils were still firm and flavoured beautifully from the herbs and the tomato sauce lightened the richness of the whole dish, counteracting the saltiness of the sausages with its sweet and sour taste. It was comfort food down to a T.
Sausages with Lentils and Tomato Salsa
For the tomato salsa
1/2 red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, sliced finely
1 stick of cinnamon
2 small dried red chilies, chopped
2-3 tbsps of red wine vinegar
400g tin of plum tomatoes
For the lentils
200g dried green lentils
2 cloves garlic, peeled
other half of onion, halved again
2 bay leaves
a handful of flat leaf parsley, leaves chopped, stalks reserved
red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
small handful of thyme leaves
Get your salsa going first. Heat up the oil and fry the onions and garlic. Add in the cinnamon stick and chillies. Fry until the onions are softened. Add the red wine vinegar, then the tinned tomatoes. Break the tomatoes up with your ladle. Bring it to a boil, then simmer for 45 minutes. Stir periodically to prevent it from sticking and get the scrapings off the side of the pan to add back to the sauce. When it’s ready, remove the cinnamon stick and season with salt. Add in some sugar as well if it’s too sour.
Put the lentils into a pot of water and add the garlic, onion, bay leaves and parsley stalks into the pot. Bring to a boil for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat and continue to simmer for 35 minutes. Remove the bay leaves, parsley stalks and onion. Pour away most of the water from the pot. Mush up the garlic with a spoon. Mix in the chopped parsley leaves and season with red wine vinegar and salt. (I found it didn’t need much salt, it was already pretty nicely flavoured).
Stick the sausages into a preheated oven and cook according to directions of their packet. Turn them over every 10-15 minutes so the skins brown evenly.
Spoon the lentils into bowls. Top with the tomato salsa and sliced sausages. Sprinkle the thyme leaves over it.
NB: If you make extra quantities of the sauce, I think it would make a great base for pizza or a pasta sauce.