Sausage and Lentils with Marmalade

It’s extraordinary the effect a spoonful of Seville marmalade has on a stew of lentils and sausages. It fills the kitchen with its powerful orangey aroma and brings sweet sour marmalade flavours to the onion and tomato stew that laps the sausages before the lentils are added. Lurking at the back of my food cupboard I found a prized jar of Spanish brown lentils and although Navarrico are pricey as just under £4 compared with tinned lentils at less than half the price, they are a different species and well worth the investment. This lovely stew could be made 24 hours in advance and is good on its own although spinach stirred in for the last few minutes before serving, is a great addition.

Serves 2-4
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 40 min

1 tbsp vegetable oil
8 Cumberland sausages
1 large onion, 200g
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tomatoes
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
100ml red wine
1 tbsp Seville orange marmalade
200ml chicken stock
800g jar Navarrico brown lentils or
2 x 400g tins green lentils

Heat the oil in a spacious, lidded frying/sauté pan and when very hot lay out the sausages. Don’t move them but adjust the heat so they cook fiercely, allowing a couple of minutes before a crust/seal is formed and you can turn without tearing to brown another side. You want them thoroughly browned all over and it’s best not to fiddle. They are sure to throw off a lot of fat however meaty your sausages are more when you transfer them to an absorbent towel-lined plate to drain. While they cook, halve, peel and finely dice the onion. Place the tomatoes in a bowl, cover with boiling water, count to 40, drain and cut the core out in a pointed plug shape. Swipe away the skin. Chop the tomatoes. Wash the sausage pan and add the 2 tbsp olive oil. Place over a medium heat and stir in the onion with a generous pinch salt. Cook, stirring regularly, for a few minutes then reduce the heat, cover the pan  and cook, stirring every few minutes for 10-15 minutes until slippery soft and lightly coloured. Add 1 tbsp balsamico followed by 100ml red wine. Stir as it bubbles up and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the tomatoes. Spoon the marmalade onto a chopping board and chop the peel into small scraps. Tip marmalade into the mix followed by 200ml stock. Simmer, giving the occasional stir, for 10 minutes and add the sausages. Cover the pan and cook at a gentle simmer for 10 minutes. Tip half the brown lentils and their juices into the stew but if using tinned lentils, drain and quickly rinse them first. You will want all of the latter and maybe more of the Navarrico – I didn’t. Simmer for a few minutes to consolidate the dish. Serve now or later; later is better, 24 hours is even better, allowing the flavours to develop.