Sausages with Lentils and Feta

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We have recently taken to meal planning, which sounds dull as dishwater, but is actually working out very well. My little rule for each week is that one dinner recipe should come from my delicious backlog (or the internet) and another should come from one of my recipe books.

Even though I have a reasonable amount of cooking time available to me, it is always less than I expect so I keep a beady eye out for quick recipes. This one, for sausages and lentils, from taste, certainly fitted the bill. And we even had Puy lentils that probably needed using up. Of course, the taste recipe was a guide and what I actually did follows.

I’ll definitely be making a variation of this recipe again but when I do, I’ll throw a few vegetables (carrots, celery, for example) in the with lentils – it saves having to bother doing vegetables on the side.

For 2 people (with leftovers for the baby) I used 150g of Puy lentils which I cooked in advance in some beef stock. I recommend this – it adds great depth of flavour to the lentils. Puy lentils cook more quickly than the lentils you’d use in a dahl. Don’t cook them to a mush – you want them to retain their shape and some bite.

When we started to think about dinner, I grilled six Italian style sausages (that’s how many came in the pack – you’re unlikely to need them all but a cold sausage never goes astray).

I sautéed a finely chopped leek with a couple of cloves of garlic and then mixed that into the lentils (for reheating purposes they were on a low heat). I then fried up a couple of rashers of bacon (chopped) and added them to the lentils. I finished the lentils by adding a very generous teaspoon (or two!) or wholegrain mustard and a splash of red wine vinegar.

The recipe calls for dressing the plate with marinated feta. Seriously – have you seen how expensive marinated feta is? I made some of my own: buy some Australian feta from the deli counter in your supermarket. Chop it up and put it in a container with some extra virgin olive oil (naturally, also Australian) and add herbs and spices of your choosing. I used some dried oregano, some chilli flakes, some crushed juniper berries and some black peppercorns.

I only made the feta a day in advance so it hadn’t had too much of a chance to absorb flavours and rather than decorating the plate with it, I stirred it through the hot lentils. It gave the lentils a lovely creaminess and also added some much needed salt. Perhaps not as pretty as the picture you see on taste, but certainly tasty.

Serve the lentils in hot bowls, top with chopped sausage and some extra vegetables. Quick and healthy. Oh – if you want to be really healthy, swap the sausage for something leaner, perhaps a grilled chicken breast or lamb chop.

A quick storecupboard meal that’s also healthy. Marvellous.

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