Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Nigella's Italian Sausages with Lentils

Sausage and lentils are a classic combo, you see them a lot in French and Italian cooking. This is a high protein, fairly healthy meal (depending on the quality of the sausages) that would be great with a dark green salad with a zippy, zesty dressing.
I dressed up the lentils with some added garlic, thyme, crushed black pepper and sea salt. The sauce from the sausages is wonderful, but I found the extra seasoning on the lentils quite good. They would have been pretty mild without it, or at least for me. Nobody has ever accused me of being subtle.

Italian Sausages with Lentils
Nigella Lawson
from her website here
and Nigella Bites

3–4 tablespoons olive oil (not extra virgin)
1 onion, finely chopped
sprinkling of salt
500g Puy lentils
1 fat clove garlic, squished with the side of a knife, and skin removed
8 Italian sausages
100ml red wine
50ml water
flat-leaf parsley for sprinkling
Serving Size : Serves 4.

1. To cook the lentils, put 2–3 tablespoons of the oil into a good-sized saucepan (and one which has a lid that fits) on the heat and when it’s warm add the chopped onion. Sprinkle with salt (which helps prevents it browning) and cook over a low to medium heat till soft (about 5 minutes). Add the lentils, stir well and then cover generously with cold water. Bring to the boil, then cover and let simmer gently for half an hour or so until cooked and most, if not all, the liquid’s absorbed. I don’t add salt at this stage since the sauce provided by the sausages later (and which will be poured over the lentils) will be pretty salty itself. So, wait and taste. And remember, you can of course cook the lentils in advance.
2. Anyway, when either the lentils are nearly ready or you’re about to reheat them, put a heavy-based frying pan on the hob, cover with a film of oil and add the bruised garlic. Cook for a few minutes then add and brown the sausages. When the sausages are brown on both sides – which won’t take more than 5 minutes or so (actually, I used more time in getting a good brown on all sides of the sausages, which is how I like them best) – throw in the wine and water and let bubble up. (I added some extra chopped garlic here) Cover the pan, either with a lid or tin foil, and cook for about 15 minutes. Using a fork, mash the now-soft garlic into the sauce and taste for seasoning, adding a little more water if it’s too strong.
3. Remove the lentils to a shallowish bowl or dish (I evacuate the sausages from their cooking pan, plonk the lentils in, then proceed) then cover with the sausages and their garlicky, winey gravy. Sprinkle over some flat-leaf parsley.
Italian Sausages with Lentils for the I Heart Cooking Clubs Pot Luck!