Saturday, January 16, 2010

Lentil Stew to beat the Winter Blues

Baby it's cold outside! Although the snow is all but gone now, it is still real cold in Provence! What better than a heart and belly warming stew to keep us going? This one goes very well with a good red from Côtes du Rhône which was exactly what we and our American friends had last night.

Ingredients for 4 servings

200 g lentils (the small green Puy lentils are best, they don't even need to be soaked)
8 thick savory sausages – think Italian salsicce
3 red peppers
2 small (425 g) cans peeled tomatoes
2 red onions
500 ml beef or vegetable stock
olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce
chili flakes (I like to use Turkish pulbiber)

Preheat the oven to 200 C° /180 C° fan
Cut the red peppers into halves, clean them, then cut into chunky pieces. Peel the red onion, cut into wedges. Pour the tomatoes and their juice into a roasting tin. Add the red pepper chunks and the onion wedges. Add the sausages, drizzle all with a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and bake for about 40 minutes.
In the meantime, rinse the lentils, then boil them in plenty of water (to which you have a added a stock cube) until they are soft (takes about 20 to 30 min). When soft, drain the lentils.
Take the roasting tin out of the oven, add the drained lentils and the hot vegetable stock and a dash of two of Worcestershire sauce plus some chili flakes, stir everything well together and roast for another 40 min until the lentils have soaked up most of the liquid and the sausages are nice and brown. Check the seasoning, adding some salt and/or pepper if necessary. Serve with crusty bread to mop up the delicious sauce.