Back in the 90s Dom and I holidayed four times in Provence with Lucy and an assorted company of friends, who all took turns to cook. Some of those meals became legendary (frogs’ legs ‘diving’ into stuffed tomatoes, anyone?). One year we found a Delia recipe in an old magazine: sausages & lentils was pitched as a winter warmer but the Provençal heat did not deter us from trying it. We’ve been making it at home ever since, with baked potatoes and steamed broccoli as our standard accompaniments.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
A small tub of cubed pancetta, lardons or 4 rashers streaky bacon cut into small pieces
300g puy lentils (also called lentilles vertes)
1 tin beef consommé (now hard to come by: 400ml beef stock works too)
150ml red wine
8-10 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
Six baking potatoes, pricked with a fork
A large head of broccoli, cut into big florets
Plenty of butter and mustard
Heat the oven to 180 (fan) and put the baking potatoes in for 1.5 hours.
In a large oven-proof casserole pan, heat the oil, brown the sausages, then remove. Fry the pancetta in the remaining oil (add more if necessary), then add the chopped onion, turn the heat down and cook for five minutes. Add the lentils, stir, then pour in the consomme / stock and the red wine. Season with pepper, add the bayleaf and thyme and return the sausages to the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, in the oven for about an hour. Check that the lentils don’t get too dry – add water or more wine if necessary. Pancetta is quite salty, so you shouldn’t need to add any more salt.
15 minutes before eating, put the broccoli (salted) on over cold water. Once the water has come to a boil, it will steam the broccoli in 6 minutes.
Serve with baked potatoes, butter and lots of mustard.