Lentil and Sausage Casserole
This has been an atypical Fall, right here in Portugal. I know last year it was warm well into October, but we have now reached November with late Summer weather. If this does not bring to mind the dangers in global warming, I don't know what does. Coming out of my soapbox, I must add that this warmer weather does not provide proper setting for heart warming casseroles and stews, something I am always earger to partake come those crisp November evenings. The kitchen gets too hot, the dishes feel too heavy, because of the unseasonable heat. And yet I persevere because this is the kind of dish that is a time saver in a house where I need to have dinner leftovers for next day's lunches.
You see, the kid being on first grade now, he comes home for lunch everyday, and then goes back to school. Yes, he could have his midday meal at the canteen, but I'm weird that way that I insist on knowing what he eats and how much he eats and I do not trust school meals at all to give him what I find appropriate in terms of nutrients. Whenever I take him back after lunch, the whole school reeks of fries, and let's just say that an everyday fry up diet is completely verbotten for me. So in addition to needing leftovers for my husband to take to work for his own lunch, now I need leftovers for the kid and for me - yes, well, when it was just me at lunch time, a bowl of soup and a piece of fruit would do, now try doing that with a six year old watching and askig why is he being "forced" to eat a wholesome meal while you drown a soup... does not work, sadly. So it is lunch for two at the kitchen table. Preferably something that is packed with flavour and has all of the main food groups in. A proper stew or casserole is the easiest way to get it done, as you can add meat, or fish, loads of veggies and some carbohydrates into the same pan, and just have it simmer away, with tasty seasonings of herbs and spices.
If there's a combo I'm particular about is lentils and sausages. Do not ask me why, but I find this combination of flavours and textures rather appealing, and warming, and filling. So it tends to be a dish that I go back to a number of times. And for it you will need:
- Two large carrots, sliced
- 1 leek, sliced
- garlic to taste
- laurel leaves
- 5 big sausages, cut into to large slices
- half a cup of lentils, soaked (4 to 6 hours should be enough)
- Frozen green beans, a bunch of
- Frozen spinach, one or two cubes.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper to season
- 1 tsp dried sage leaves
- 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 can diced tomatoes
Gently fry the leek, carrots and garlic with the olive oil on a large pan. Add the lentils once the veggies are tender and let them simmer for abou two minutes. Drop in the sausages, let them gain some colour and add the can of tomatoes and the stock. Season well with salt, pepper, sage and the laurel leaves. Let it all come to a boil and lower the heat to a gentle simmer. After having let it simmer for some time, check the lentils to see if they're nearly done, and add the spinach and the green beans, letting them cook thoroughly but still maintaining some crunch to them. Taste to check the seasoning, and as soon as the lentils are fully cooked, it is ready to serve. Heart warming, filling, tasty, but don't just take my word for it, try it!