Sausages with Lentils and Feta


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.

Sausage Casserole Recipe

Hairy Bikers' Sausage and bean casserole

Another hearty dinner for you – one that’s perfect to make on the weekend and have stored up for a mid week dinner.

This recipe comes from the Hairy Bikers’ Mums Still Know Best – a book that’s choc full of very tasty looking, very British recipes.

This is a great recipe because you don’t need to worry too much about quantities. You’ll know if you love beans – and if you don’t, well then you should leave them out and, if you can be bothered, substitute with something else.

Begin by heating some oil in your favourite casserole dish. Chop the sausages into large chunks and fry until browned. Remove from the pan, and fry up some chopped bacon. When that begins to crisp up, remove that and set aside with the sausages.

In the pan (which by now should have a lovely fatty, meaty bottom), fry some finely sliced onion. As the onion softens, add garlic to taste and fry for a couple of minutes more. Now add in chilli powder (or smoked paprika) and cook for a few seconds longer to cook out the spice.

Now add in a tin of crushed tomatoes (note – try to buy Australian!), some chicken stock, tomato purée, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar and some dried oregano or thyme. If you’re cooking for two people, let’s say you’re using 6 sausages (you want to have leftovers, trust me), so use 300mL chicken stock, 2 tbsp tomato purée, 1 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce and sugar to taste (I always use far less than specified in recipes so let’s say 1 tsp).

Bring this mix to a simmer and add the sausages and bacon back into the pan. Add enough water (or a 50-50 water/white wine mix) to cover everything.

Partially cover the pan and simmer for at least 20 minutes. When you’re ready to eat, drain and rinse a can of butter beans or cannellini beans and add the beans to the stew. Cook for a further 10 minutes (minimum) and serve with plenty of piping hot, buttery mash.

The picture of this casserole in the book shows a very dry looking dish. Personally, I’m a big fan of plenty of sauce – if things are looking too dry for your tastes you can add passata or stock or more wine. However, if you want less sauce, then hold back on adding all the stock and only add as much liquid as you feel necessary.

This is one of those dishes that keeps and reheats well – there’ll be no problem making it on a Sunday and having it for Tuesday supper (not to mention left overs for lunch the next day).

As a bonus, it’s almost a one pot dish and it’s super easy. Well done, Dave and Si!