Recipe: sausages and lentils

This is one of my and Tom’s favourite recipes. We’ve been making it for years and can now do it with our eyes closed (I don’t mean we literally do that, you understand) and play around with it a bit. If you like sausages and tomato sauces, you’ll love this. An excellent recipe for dinner parties as it’s really easy to scale up, all you need is a bigger dish.

Nigel Slater’s sausages with lentils (recipe in Kitchen Diaries. An excellent book)

Serves 2 with seconds.

2 medium onions (we prefer red onions, but often use leeks as well)
2 tbsps olive oil
2 large cloves garlic
1 small salami (about 200g)
150g any colour lentils (we normally use red)
3 bay leaves
500g crushed tomato or tomato passata
350g fresh sausages

Peel the onions and cut each one in half from tip to root, then cut each half into 4 or 5. Warm the oil in a heavy-based casserole, add the onions and let them cook over a moderate heat until tender. Meanwhile, peel the garlic, slice it thinly and add it to the onions. Stir the onions regularly.

Peel the thin skin from the salami, then cut the inside into fat matchsticks. Add this to the softening onions and leave for a couple of minutes, during which time the salami will darken slightly.

Start cooking the sausages in a nonstick pan. You want them to colour on the outside – they will do most of their cooking once they are in the sauce. Tip the crushed tomato into the onions, add the washed lentils and stir in 500ml of water. Bring to the boil.

Remove the sausages from their pan and tuck them into the casserole with the bay leaves. Cover the pot with a lid and leave to simmer gently for about half an hour, until the lentils are tender.

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