A piquant take on the classic Languedoc dish of Toulouse sausage and Puy lentils. In this adaptation we’ll use Merguez sausages – a spicy north African variety rich in flavour and fragrance – cooked with lentils and a customary gallic flourish of garlic and wine.
If you have time, you can cook the lentils from scratch – or, if like me you prefer the lazy route, you can cheat and buy pre cooked in a tin or vacuum pack.
I’m a recent convert to lentils, having for years remembered them as a tasteless, cement-like substance from my student days. I had my road to Damascus moment just after Easter in a tiny French brasserie where I took a punt in the dark from the menu and was won over. It helps that given my expanding waistline and recent appearance of man boobs that Puy lentils are pretty good for you!
Preparation to plate: 30 minutes
- 6 Merguez sausages
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves chopped
- 1 onion finely diced
- 1 celery stick finely chopped
- 1 carrot finely chopped
- 400g tinned Puy lentils
- 175ml white wine
- 175ml chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
Extras: 1 fresh crispy baguette
1. Preheat a large, heavy-based saucepan until hot. Cook the sausages until brown on all sides. Remove from pan and put in oven on low heat to keep hot.
2. Add the olive oil to the pan and heat making use of all the reduced sausage fat and crispy bits. Add in the onion, garlic, celery, carrot and bay leaf, and sweat gently for 5 minutes.
3. Pour in the Puy lentils, white wine and chicken stock and cook until the liquor has reduced enough to just about hold its shape when stirred around the pan.
4. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
5. Serve the sausages on a bed of the lentils and liqour with crispy french bread to mop up the juice.
Health benefits of eating pulses
Lentils are around one percent fat and 44 percent dietary fibre (both soluble and insoluble), which helps lower cholesterol and can help with digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome. They aren’t just a rich source of fibre, lentils also contain folic acid and magnesium and are particularly good if you have diabetes as they can help balance blood sugar levels while providing slow-burn energy.
That’s enough of the healthy eating blurb, suffice to say this recipe is quick, easy and tastes absolutely gorgeous. Remember, you only took 175ml out of that bottle of wine so grab yourself a glass and enjoy the taste of southern France.