Saturday: Sausage and Lentil Casserole
By Dotty in the Kitchen
What a grey, cold, soggy, uninspiring day we’ve woken up to this morning….
It’s a day for slippers, comfort food and candles I think. I make a pot of coffee, poach some eggs and watch Saturday Kitchen in my pjs. Before I know it, Saturday kitchen has turned into Netflix and I’ve binge-watched the last three episodes of Bridgerton. Oops. It’s almost getting dark again and I’m barely dressed! Slightly shamefully, I shuffle back to the bedroom and get dressed. I bundle up some laundry too, change the bedding and empty the dishwasher. Oh, the riveting life of a twenty-something…
Spotting a gap in the rain, I duck out for a little walk. It doesn’t last long as it’s mizzling and the ground is too slippery and wet. I trudge home, thinking about the open sandwich I’ll have when I get back, topped with cheddar cheese and some of last night’s leftover coleslaw.
I spend the rest of the afternoon pottering and tidying in the flat, I call my parents and finish my book before I mooch into the kitchen with thoughts of dinner.
Tonight it’s sausage and lentil casserole which is exactly what I need on a day like today. I love the process of a casserole – the chopping of the vegetables is so mindful, the slow bubbling of the sauce is so comforting. I lay out my ingredients…
Serves two, with lentils leftover for another main meal
2tsp sunflower oil
2 large white onion
2 large carrot
2 celery stick (optional)
2 clove garlic
1 tbsp tomato puree
250g dried puy lentils
500ml chicken stock
Bay leaf / thyme sprig
Salt and pepper
Handful spinach (about 100g)
Tsp mustard to serve (optional)
This sausage and lentil casserole recipe begins, as so many do, with the chopping of an onion. I leisure over this, taking care and time to finely chop the onion, carrot and celery (I have a few stalks leftover from last week’s meal plan) into neat, even cubes, as small as the lentils. With some music on in the background and a G&T on the side, this is my happy place.
Vegetables chopped, I fish out the casserole pan from the back of the cupboard and heat up the sunflower oil over a medium heat. I cut the links of 4 sausages and drop them into the oil to fry and sizzle. The remaining 2 sausages go back into the fridge for later in the week. I watch the sausages spit and splutter as their skins turn crisp and golden. When they’re browned on each side, I remove them from the pan and turn the heat down. In go the finely chopped onion, carrot and celery. I leave them to sweat down for about 7 minutes, stirring every now and then.
Now my vegetables are starting to look translucent and glossy, some golden edges are starting to appear too. I grate in the clove of garlic and let it fry for another minute before stirring in 1 tbsp tomato puree.
I pour in the lentils. It seems like a lot of lentils – and it is – but these will be the base for a couple of salads for me for lunch and another main course for us later in the week. Stir them to coat them in the tomato flavoured veg. I pop the sausages back into the casserole and cover the whole thing with 500ml chicken stock. A bay leaf goes in and I wait patiently for the pan to come up to a gentle boil before I sandwich on the lid and turn the heat down to low. I leave it undisturbed for 20 minutes, then have a little peak to check on it. I give everything a stir and pop the lid back on to leave it for 20 minutes more. If it’s looking dry, add a bit more water.
After 40 minutes of gentle gurgling on the hob, the sausages and lentils in our casserole are both tender as can be. I add the fistful of spinach and stir it through the steaming casserole until it wilts and folds gently into the sauce. I spoon the lentils and sausages on our plates and top them with a dollop of Dijon mustard. We open a bottle of red wine and enjoy our dinner.