Sausage & Lentil Casserole

At this time of year I don’t often want fancy food. I crave simple, nourishing things to help combat the January blues – and this dish is just that. It’s straightforward comfort food and a great winter warmer; the benefit of cooking it all in one pot means minimal washing up, too. The fresh herbs really lift all the flavours, so don’t skimp on them.

You can use whatever sausages you like for it – my favourites are these ones, but you could use gluten-free or meat(!) sausages if you prefer.

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Ingredients (serves 4):
– 1 large onion, roughly chopped
– 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
– 2 sticks celery, topped, tailed and roughly chopped
– 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
– 1 tsp smoked paprika
– ½ tsp cinnamon
– ½ tsp grated nutmeg
– 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
– 1 tbsp red pesto
– 1 large glass red wine (about 250ml)
– 400g tin chopped tomatoes
– 300g puy lentils
– 500ml vegetable stock
– 1 bay leaf
– 2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
– 8 of your favourite sausages
– creme fraiche, to serve (optional)

1. Heat a splash of olive oil in a large pot (something that goes in the oven as well as on the hob) and add the onion, garlic and celery. Cook on a low-medium heat for about 5 minutes before adding the carrot; cook for a further 5-8 minutes until the vegetables have softened.

2. Stir in the spices and rosemary, then add the pesto and red wine. Allow to bubble for a minute before adding the chopped tomatoes, lentils, vegetable stock and bay leaf. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and allow to simmer and reduce for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so to ensure nothing’s sticking. After 20 minutes, preheat your oven to 200°C.

3. Stir in the sage and season to taste then add the sausages, pushing them down into the lentils. Put on a lid (or tin foil if you don’t have one) and place in the oven for 20 minutes.

4. Remove the bay leaf and serve with a dollop of creme fraiche (or coconut yogurt, if you’re vegan) and an extra sprinkling of fresh herbs.

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Don’t forget to keep voting for me in the UK Blog Awards – you can vote once a day until 25th January! Click the image below for a direct link.

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