Lentils with Sausage and Tomato Salsa

I recently bought a nice package of Lentilles du Puy, french green lentils ("the caviar of lentils"), in our spanish-italian deli, so this recipe was a must try. It was so delicious, I think it could even be a recurring meal on our table. Despite everything tasted really good on it's own, the combination of the earthy, slightly sour lentils with the sweet rich tomato sauce and the spicy salty sausage was mouthwatering good. Eaten on a friday evening accompanied by a nice glass of semi-dry red wine, perfect for calling it a day :)

Lentils with Sausage and Tomato Salsa serves 4
adapted from Jamie Oliver - Jamie's Italy

8 medium sices italian sausages (salsicce)

For the tomato sauce

800g canned whole tomatoes, chopped
1 small red onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 small stick of cinnamon
1 red chilli, finely chopped
2-3 tbsp red wine vinegar
salt & pepper
olive oil

For the lentils

400g Puy lentils
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 bay leaf
fresh parsley, leaves finely chopped & stalks reserved
red wine vinegar
salt & black pepper
olive oil

Preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F).

Let's start with the sauce. Heat a pot over medium-low heat, add some olive oil and cook the onions, sliced garlic, cinnamon stick and the chilli for about 10 minutes until the onions are soft and sweet. Now turn the heat up and add the red wine vinegar, be careful not to hang your nose directly over the pot or you're going to cry like a baby ;) Turn the heat back to medium-low and add the tomatoes. Cook for about 30 minutes until the sauce is thick and yummy.

Put the lentils into a pot and cover with plenty of water. Throw in the bay leaf, the whole garlic cloves and the parsley stalks and bring to a simmer.

Now it's sausage time! Toss your sausages in a little olive oil, lay them on a roasting tray or into a deep baking dish and put them in the oven for around 20 minutes until golden and crispy. And I'm going to warn you, the smell that comes out of your oven is so so good, so please don't eat the sausage right away... just maybe a tiny piece - whoops! :)

By the time the lentils are cooked, remove the bay leaf, parsley stalks and garlic and drain well. Put them back into the pot. Mash the garlic a little with a knife and mix well with the lentils. Add the finely chopped parsley. Dress them with olive oil and red wine vinegar and season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and salt.

Remove the sausage from the oven and discard the oil. Remove the cinnamon stick from the tomato salsa and discard it, too. Season the salsa to taste.

Time to assamble :) Tip the lentils onto your serving bowls and spoon over some of the tomato sauce. Place two sausages, whole or sliced - whatever floats your boat - on top. Bon appetit! :)

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