Friday, January 25, 2008

Lentils & Sausages in Pomodoro Sauce

Sausages, Green Lentils & Pomodoro Sauce
From Jamie's Italy– fantastic book!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Serves 4

8 Italian sausages (I thought I took the sweet basil & fennel ones out of the freezer but got spicy ones instead, both great options just remember the heat factor when you add the chillies to the Pomodoro Sauce)
1-2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves (to sprinkle on dish just before serving)

For Pomodoro Sauce:
Olive oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
1 small stick of cinnamon
1-2 small dried red chillies, crumbled
2 tbsp red wine vinegar, plus extra for dressing
1 can (28oz/795ml) good plum tomatoes in their juice (I use San Marzano when I can find them)

For Lentils:
14oz/400g green Dupuy lentils (they’re firmer than regular green lentils and keep their shape)
3 cloves of garlic, peeled but left whole
1 bay leaf
Handful of fresh parsley, chopped with stems reserved
4 tbsp good extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tbsp red wine or sherry vinegar

Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C (for the sausages)

Start with the Pomodoro sauce…
1. Heat a little olive oil in a large skillet (medium heat). Add the onion, garlic, cinnamon stick and chili and sauté over gentil heat for about 10 minutes – until the onions are soft and translucent.

2. Turn up the heat to high and add the red wine vinegar…Jamie says it will steam and make you cough, so I stood back…it did steam, but…fore-warned is fore-armed! Turn the heat down to low and add tomatoes, coarsely chopped (I did it in the pan). Simmer slowly for 30 minutes while you do the lentils. The recipe didn’t say covered or not, so I covered the pan and then at the end it was a little too soupy for me, so I took the cover off for the last few minutes. Delicioso!

For the lentils & sausages:
1. Put the lentils in a large pot, cover them with water and add the whole garlic cloves, bay leaf and some stems of parsley tied together (I, of course, couldn’t find any string so I put them in loose and spent 5 minutes at the end getting them all out). Simmer covered for 20 minutes, making sure the lentils are always just covered with water.

2. Toss the sausages in a little olive oil and place them in a small roasting pan in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes. The photo in the book had them looking very crispy and dark brown on the outside…not mine, so I suggest a quick hit under the broiler for the last 3 minutes or so.

3. Once the lentils are cooked, remove the parsley stems and bay leaf and pour out most of the water from the pot. Pick out the garlic and mash the cloves with a spoon. Mix them back in with the lentils and toss with 4 tbsp good olive oil and 1-2 tbsp good vinegar. Throw in the chopped parsley just before serving and taste for seasoning.

4. Remove the sausages from the oven and pour off fat. Slice the sausages in 1-2” pieces ( I did it at a slight angle just because it looks good).

To serve:
Pour the lentils into a serving bowl. Remove the cinnamon stick from the Pomodoro and discard. Taste for seasoning and spoon over the lentils. Place the sausages on top and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves.

Jamie served this with a side of Steamed Purple Broccoli squirted with lemon juice. I couldn’t find purple but microwaved green broccoli tasted just right.

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