I don’t eat with my eyes.
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed by the actual state of some of my food but it’s true. I don’t care what something looks like. If it’s easy to make and it tastes great then it’s good enough for me. The visual is just a bonus.
A lot of people have an aversion to the unsightly. If it’s not Instagrammable, then it’s not worthy of consumption and I’m just not interested in this logic. Of course, I can appreciate the beauty of food and have often been charmed by how an ingredient or meal looks, but it is seldom the swaying factor in my decision making.
Enter Sausage & Lentils.
There is absolutely nothing sexy about a big bubbling pot of sausages enveloped in lava red passata and little pearls of lentils but only the bold among us know the depths within.
I border often on the pauper line of food consumption. While I cook a lot and have no problem dipping into the fancy (I have a recipe for Lavender & Lemon Pavlova for God’s sake), I am violently drawn to meals that take almost no effort, cheap ingredients and a welcome curl on the sofa.
Forgive my measly offering of four sausages in the picture. I thought I had more before I started this and I’m using the supermarket sparingly these days (as should you… no judgement, but kind of judgement…) so I just made do with what I had.
But for mercy’s sake, up your sausage offer if you are to make this and the mood fits.
If however you wanted to make this vegan, you could absolutely omit the sausages and give yourself the nursery, repetitively hugging bowl of smoky red peppers and lentils. The sausage is a very welcome contribution, but not an ultimately necessary one.
Slice up an onion and a big garlic clove (or two if you only have a small one) as finely as you have the patience for.
Heat a little olive oil in a big pan that comes with a lid and drop in some sausages (not four like me… be reasonable) and cook them until they brown up. Take them out of the pan and on to a plate and cover with foil for a little bit, leaving as much sausage oils in the pan as you can.
Add the onion and garlic, salt them and turn the heat down slightly and fry them until they start to soften.
Take a jar of roast red peppers (the oily ones that look like goats tongues but taste incredible) and take out one or two of the slipper peppers chop into little bite sizes. Add to the pan of onions and turn up the heat and fry together.
Now empty in about a cup of dry red lentils and stir around until they are mixed up and coated with the onions and peppers. Fry for about five minutes before tipping in about a cups worth of tomato passata. Fill the cup with water from the tap and add into pan.
Stir everything together so the passata and water is distributed evenly throughout the lentil and bring to a bubble. Add the sausages into the lentils, nestle them in snuggly. Clamp a lid on the pan, turn the heat down and allow to simmer gently for about 15 – 20 minutes.
After the simmering time, serve with a big, leafy scattering of parsley.
I just put the damn pan on the table with some chunks of bread and bottles of beer.