Lentil and Sausage Stew

I am a huge fan of cocktail sausages but only if I know their heritage; I want meaty ones like the Cumberland variety I buy from my local butcher (www.mackenbrothers.co.uk). The size makes them ideal for stewy dishes like this one. They are relatively fast to cook and mean portion control is easy. This blessedly lazy, quick stew is sparked up by a little diced chorizo and mellowed by carrot and onion, with a goodly glug of passata. I used Navarrico lentils in a jar, although others would do but I think it is worth paying over the odds for such a good product.  Their (700g) jars yield plenty for two meals; I made a big chunky soup with the remains of the jar and you’ll find the recipe here.

Serves 3-4

Prep: 20 min

Cook: 35 min

1 onion

1 tbsp olive oil

50g chorizo piquant sausage

1 carrot

500g Cumberland cocktail sausages

1 tbsp vegetable oil

400g passata

700g Navarrico lenteja (small lentils)

handful of baby spinach

            Halve, peel and finely dice the onion. Chose a spacious lidded saute/frying pan, heat the oil over a medium-low heat and stir in the onion, cooking for about 15 minutes, stirring regularly, until the onions are lightly coloured and slippery soft. Peel and dice the chorizo, stir it into the onion with the scraped and finely diced carrot. Add a generous pinch of salt, stir and cover the pan. Leave to cook gently – you will probably need to reduce the heat – for 10-15 minutes while you brown and virtually cook the sausages in 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a frying pan. Be thorough about this, draining oil as they brown. Tip passata and half the lentils and their liquid into the softened onion. Simmer, stirring, to consolidate, add the  sausages, cover again and cook for a few more minutes. Fold in the spinach. The dish is ready when the spinach has melted.