Monday, 17 August 2015

Sausage and Lentil Stew

A great winter warmer -- the secret ingredient which knits together all the flavours is crushed fennel seeds.


  • Six good-quality meaty Italian or French-style sausages
  • 10-12 pickling onions or shallots
  • 3 rashers bacon
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • generous glass of red wine
  • 150g green lentils
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 100g vacuum-packed, canned or rehydrated chestnuts


Chop the sausages into short pieces and top, tail and peel the onions. Trim any tough fat off the bacon and cut into strips. In a large Le Creuset or similar pot, fry the sausages, onions and bacon together for a few minutes, until some of the sausage skin is crisping. Meanwhile, dice the carrots and celery and crush or finely chop the garlic. Add to the sausage. Fry, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes more, then deglaze the pan with the red wine.

Crush the fennel seeds lightly in a mortar and pestle, then add to the stew, along with the lentils. Top up with a little hot water, so that the lentils can cook. Cover and simmer for 1-2 hours, checking and stirring occasionally so it does not stick to the pan. Cook until the onions are soft, sweet and falling apart -- usually slightly longer for shallots than for pickling onions. Stir through the chestnuts and allow to heat through. Serve with mashed potato or potato Colcannon.

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