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.
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.