Usually I have a glut of vegetables of one sort of another, but at the moment I appear to have a glut of lentils. I must have read some article proclaiming the virtues of lentils and how super good they are for you and then subconsciously I must have picked up a bag every time I went shopping for the next month. Subsequently, this week, I have not one, but two lentil dishes for you. The first is a classic combination of lentils, crème fraiche and mustard served up with spinach and sausages. It is not exactly a stew, but it is nice to keep it a bit soupy. You can use any sort of spinach or some other greens, such as chard, kale or cavalo would work too, but you might like to blanch them first.
Sausages with Lentils, Crème Fraiche, Mustard & Spinach
8 good quality pork sausages
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 rashers streaky bacon, chopped
1 large leek, shredded, washed and drained
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
Small bunch of fresh thyme, tied into a bundle
2 cloves garlic, grated
Couple of large handfuls of fresh spinach, striped from stems and washed
250ml crème fraîche
1-2 tbsp Dijon mustard
Preheat the oven to 180C. Cook the sausages for 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are evenly browned and cooked through.
Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Fry the bacon until crispy and then stir in the chopped vegetables and the thyme bundle. Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened and are beginning to brown. Add the lentils and the garlic. Stir well and add 1 ½ pints of water. Simmer for about 20-25 minutes until the lentils are tender. Add water if necessary but by the time the lentils are cooked, you want most of the water to have cooked away. Season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Remove the thyme bundle, squeezing out the remaining juices. Stir in the crème fraiche and mustard and then the spinach. Return to the heat and cook the spinach until just wilted. Taste and adjust seasoning and add the sausages. Serve hot.