Monday, 13 June 2011

Classic Italian Lentils with Sausages

Aaah, a nice easy supper with a storecupboard feel: lentils and sausages. I love it, it's tasty, filling and cheap, plus it's comforting on a chilly evening when your boiler's broken!

Pop the kettle on to boil first thing, to make up a pint of stock, and chop an onion, a couple of sticks of celery, a few cloves of garlic and a pepper.

Stick some oil in a pan to heat up and add the garlic, celery and onion. After they've softened a bit, add in a sprinkle of dried chilli and, if you have any, a slice of bacon cut into the pan with scissors. Stir it up and leave it to cook for a while. I would usually add a bay leaf too but I forgot today.

Get the sausages under the grill pretty sharpish, to make sure they're cooked through around the same time as the lentils will be - sausages always seem to take longer than I think they will! I wish I had proper Italian sausages but normal ones are still lovely. There's no need to peirce most modern sausages, there's less water in them these days so they don't actually go bang!

Throw a cup of lentils into the pan with everything else and stir them, let them warm up a bit before adding a tin of tomatoes, the pepper peices and a cup of the stock. As it cooks, add more stock when needed.

When the sausages and lentils are almost done, around half an hour or so, add a couple of capfuls of vodka, salt, a tiny amount of sugar, the merest drizzle of red wine vinegar, pepper and chopped thyme. Give it 5-10 minutes at a simmer then take off the heat and mix in some fresh, chopped basil. Lovely.

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