Sausage stew was the first meal we cooked when camping, made with red table wine from a plastic bottle and a Mattesson’s sausage that Math’s Mum had pushed into his rucksack. Things have moved on since then but the principle remains the same: a warming and easy dish that does not require finesse. Here the sausages should be sturdy bangers and sufficiently dense to withstand boiling without turning into mush. A string of fat cooking chorizo is ideal. If you don’t want a particularly spicy flavour then omit the chilli. The dish could be made with Toulouse sausages, chives and parsley.
250g puy lentils
8 sturdy spicy sausages, such as cooking chorizo. Brindisa make some good ones
1 small or 1/2 large onion, chopped
1 long red chilli, spliced length ways
2 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
1 red pepper, deseeded and diced
Juice of ½ lemon
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 stick of celery, diced
8 baby tomatoes (or 4 standard tomatoes quartered, the important thing is they are the tastiest you can get)
2 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper
3 tbs fresh herbs, flat leaf parsley and/or coriander, chopped
Large lidded pan
Rinse the puy lentils and put in the bowl, cover with cold water and soak while you get the other ingredients ready. Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry the onion, carrot, red pepper and celery until soft. Drain the soaked lentils and add to the pan, add the whole garlic cloves, pepper, the split chilli and sausages. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, turn down the heat to a simmer and cover. Stir regularly, but carefully, making sure the lentils don’t stick to the pan. You want enough liquid to make a soupy sauce, but not so much that the dish is watery. After ten minutes, add the tomatoes. Once the sausages are cooked through (should take about twenty minutes in total) and the lentils are soft, but still whole, then you’re ready to serve. Turn off the heat, squash the garlic cloves, against the side of the pan and throw them in, along with the herbs, season with salt, stir and serve with chunks of bread and olive oil.