Sunday, 1 June 2014

Sausage & Lentil Casserole

I realise this is considered a dish for cold seasons, but it's taken me a while to find the SD card with the pictures on it! Yes, it's yet another one pot deal, what can i say - i like any excuse to break out my casserole dish!

It's entirely concocted of whatever was left in the store cupboards and the back of the fridge, and should easily feed three people. It's hearty, warming and packed full of flavour.

You will need the following ingredients:

1 large Brown or White Onion (any will do though, in a pinch)
2 Carrots
3 large Garlic Cloves
Pack of 8 Sausages, cooked & cold
200g of Mushrooms
100g of Unsmoked Back Bacon trimmed of fat.
1 can of Green Lentils in Water
2 Chicken stock cubes
Sage (Fresh or Dried)

Utensils Needed:

Chef's Knife
Chopping Board
Casserole Pot with Lid (Cast iron & Enamel are ideal)
Wooden Spoon
Measuring Jug

As with the Goulash below, the preparation for this is pretty simple. It's a one pot stew that takes maybe an hour, to an hour and a half to make. Pre-heat your oven to Gas Mark 2 (300° Fahrenheit / 150° Celsius) - we're going for a slow cook again.

Chop the garlic cloves up as fine as you can and leave to one side. Chop up the onion as coarse or as fine as you like, same with the carrots (although i find that thick chunks work best).

Put about a tablespoon of olive oil into the casserole dish and place on the smallest ring on the stove, at it's highest heat. Get it nice and hot, then add the garlic. Just as the garlic starts to brown, add the onions and turn the heat down low and put the lid on for about 5 minutes. The end result should look like this:

Now add the carrots and the sage. the amount of sage used is entirely up to you, feel free to leave it out entirely if you wish.

Trim the fat off the bacon if you haven't already, and cut into thin strips or chunks. We don't want to ruin this otherwise fairly lean dish by having chewy/fatty bits of bacon floating around in it!

Put the lid on for a minute, just to start the process - we don't want the bacon to fry off. 

Take the cooked sausages and add them at this point. Now i've chopped them into chunks here, so that they're easier to deal with on a spoon, but if you want to bring a fork to these proceedings, by all means feel free to add them whole.

Open the can of lentils and drain off the water. Rinse them with a little cold water first to get rid of some of the salt, then add them to the casserole dish as well.

Put the lid on and go and mix up 300ml of chicken stock, using your two stock cubes. I find that beef stock is a little too overpowering and takes over the taste almost entirely - which is fine if you're using beef sausages, but i'm presuming most people will use pork sausages.

Chop your mushrooms roughly, large chunks are ideal - don't do more than quarter them, they *will* shrink as they cook.

Now, add both to the casserole dish and put the lid on for about 5 minutes to get the whole lot up to the boil again.

Take the casserole dish off the stove, and put it in the oven. Rough guideline for cooking time is 30 to 40 minutes, anything more than an hour though, and the liquid will reduce too much and you'll start to get bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Ta-da! I know, it looks like an amorphous brown mess like stick it in a bowl, and it'll look far more appetizing!

Serve with some nice thick sliced granary bread. I guarantee you'll feel full after eating even one bowlful :)

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