It always amazes me when I look back and think about the blog; The Usual Saucepans has been on the go since late 2012. But whilst almost everything has changed since then, there are a few things that have been constants. One of those is this dish, sausage and lentil stew – or, as I know it, grown up beans and sausages – which first appeared in January 2013.
Whilst some stews are very much of the ‘Sunday lunch’ style, this one is pure comfort food for the colder autumn and winter months through and through. It’s a rich, thick stew that tastes incredible. As a one-time biologist though, I am aware that all good things evolve over time; this recipe is no different. Since its initial outing it’s been tweaked here, had something added there, and gone through several rounds of experimental ingredients (successfully and otherwise) so if you’re comfortable with the recipe below, take this as total license to experiment!
And if you’re not quite on board with the idea quite yet, then don’t just take my word for it. Alongside some of my gin recipes, this ranks as one of the most popular recipes I’ve ever written about, so it would appear I’m not its only fan.
In the years since I’ve started making this recipe there have been quite a few changes, and I’d say it’s well worth the development time. Two types of pork have become three, there’s a ‘little splash’ of red wine (OK, it’s become a ‘large glass’) and the cooking time is longer and slower – the result is a smoother and more luxurious sauce, that makes me want to eat it even more often.
Whether you need something to make your day go a bit better, something to pretend that it’s not pouring with rain or freezing cold outside, or simply want a really tasty dinner that doesn’t take hours to cook, I hope this recipe can help you out. Tweak the recipe as you go and let me know how you get on.
Reasons to love this recipe:
- it’s the very best comfort food
- it’s got a huge amount of flavour in it
- it’s got some heat to it, but not too much
- it’s even better after it’s rested for a day or so and the flavours have developed.
This recipe is adapted from previous incarnations that I’ve made, but the very original source comes from Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diary. It’s great as a comfort food dish when the world isn’t quite going as you’d like or simply as a midweek dish you don’t have to spend hours pouring over. However you use this recipe I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. It makes enough for two with seconds.
- 350g sausages
- 150g green lentils
- 180g chorizo
- 500g passata
- 500ml water
- 1 large glass of red wine
- 100g pancetta (or bacon)
- 1 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 onion
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Get a heavy-based saucepan or hob-proof casserole dish and put the olive oil into the base, heating it up gentle. Whilst it’s warming take the onion and chop it into thin slices (root-tip, not across the middle), then throw these into the pan and allow them to soften slowly. Crush your garlic and add it into the mixture as well. You want these too be soft, but not colouring. Chop the chorizo into chunky matchsticks and add them to the pot. All to cook for a minute or so before adding in the pancetta (/bacon – diced will be best). Cook for 2-3 minutes to allow the oils to seep out and colouration to begin.
In a separate non-stick frying pan start to brown your sausages. Most of their cooking will happen in the stew, but brown them first to make sure.
Once the onion/chorizo mixture has cooked for a few minutes it’s time to add in the lentils. Get these covered in all the juices in the pan so they are glistening. Once this is done turn up the heat to max and pour in the red wine.
You want the alcohol to evaporate from the wine, so fast heating is what you need. Let it bubble away for a minute or so (ensuring nothing sticks to the bottom), then add in the water, passata and bay leaves. At this point you can also add a little pepper, if you want it with some spice, and add in the paprika, if you are using it (it will make it spicier, but also much more ‘warming’).
As the mixture comes to the boil turn the heat down to low and add in the partially-cooked sausages. Stir everything together and put the lid on. Allow it to cook away for about 45 minutes, stirring every 8 or so minutes to ensure the lentils don’t stick and there’s enough liquid (if loads has boiled off add some more water).
The end result should be a thick, dark red stew with sausages and lentils poking out. Put it in a bowl and tuck in, it’s proper comfort food and goes brilliantly with some red wine.