Odd as it may sound, puy lentils are my ultimate (savoury) comfort food.
They’re rich and satisfying, meaty and nutritious, full of good proteins, and, unlike red or green lentils, they don’t turn to puree. They’re really cheap, (just over €3 a bag in The Health Store), a bag lasts for ages, and they’re highly versatile.
They don’t need soaking. They work very well in place of minced meat, they’re perfect in soups and salads, and they are only gorgeous when partnered with a tin of tomatoes. Need I go on?
They’re my ultimate store-cupboard staple – with a few veggies, a tin of tomatoes, a few herbs or spices, and some puy lentils, you need never be stuck again.
This is my version of Avoca Cafe’s Sausage, Chilli and Lentil Stew. I cooked it for Jean and a few good friends (some of them are in the photo) when they came to visit me in the Wicklow Hills a few Sundays ago. It was cheap and only took about 30-35 minutes to prepare – the remainder of the time was just for cooking.
It was a really pleasant afternoon: outside it was freezing and it rained all day. Inside, we sat by the kitchen table having a few drinks while, in the sitting room, a gaggle of children worked themselves into a frenzy over Kung-Fu Panda.
I wasn’t so sure if the kids would appreciate this dish so they got fish fingers instead. I felt redeemed when they sent their chips back because they had a dash of paprika on them.
Anyway, this should serve 4, so adjust the ingredients accordingly:
Sausage, Lentil and Chilli Stew
- 8 good-quality sausages – preferably not Galtee, Denny etc (or add more if you like!)
- 250g Puy lentils
- A handful of fresh parsley, chopped
- A large sprig of thyme (optional)
- A large sprig of rosemary, chopped
- 2 large red onions
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
- 2 red chillies, chopped, or add more for extra spicyness
- 250ml vegetable stock
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 head of garlic, unpeeled
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Cook sausages on a pan, in the oil, until brown – about 10 mins – turning occasionally
- Add red onions and cook for 10 minutes
- Rinse the puy lentils in water (NB if you don’t, you may experience horrific flatulence)
- Add lentils to the pan until covered in oil, then add parsley, chillies, chopped tomatoes, rosemary, the head of garlic, some black pepper, and 250ml stock.
- Bring to the boil, lower the heat, and simmer for about 40 mins, or until the lentils are tender. You might need to add a bit more vegetable stock as you go along; lentils absorb a lot of water.
- Serve with some crusty bread, mashed potato or, as I did, sweet potato mash.
More puy lentil recipes on Thursday morning.