Sunday, 1 January 2012

New Year's Day: Sausages and Lentils

We have often enjoyed this dish, and not only on New Year's Day either. It's an Italian tradition to eat pork and lentils at New Year; according to this article the pork symbolises the fat of the land and the flat, coin-like lentils are symbolic of money. And so, it's eaten to usher in a prosperous year ahead.

I make mine with smaller, chipolata sausages - firstly because the children love them, and secondly, they take less time to cook. I also use tinned (or cartoned) green lentils, again for speed and convenience. Lentils are so good for you (rich in iron, amongst other things) and I'm going to make a real effort to eat more of them.

This is a quick, effortless dish, cooked in one pan - meaning a rich, tasty and healthy meal with a minimum of washing up. We love eating ours with the dark, squeaky leaves of a savoy cabbage, tossed lightly in salted butter.




Italian Style Sausages and Lentil One Pot
Serves 3-4

Ingredients
  • Olive oil
  • 12 good-quality chipolata sausages
  • 2 chunky cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 400g (or thereabouts) tin/carton of lentils
  • 3 large carrots, sliced on the diagonal
  • 3 bay leaves

Method
  1. Trickle about 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large frying pan, and fry the sausages, turning a few times, until they are browned all over.
  2. Once the sausages are browned, push them to one side, turn down the heat slighhtly and throw in the onion and garlic. Cook, on a medium heat until the onion is soft, but not browned. 
  3. Now, add the carrots, lentils and tuck in the bay leaves. Pour in a splash of water from the kettle until it just covers. You could use stock if you like, but I find that the water mingles with the flavour of the tinned lentils and incorporates the sticky sausage residue in the pan, so I don't. Throw in a good pinch of salt and a generous grinding of black pepper.
  4. Leave to bubble, until the carrots are tender (but still with a 'bite') and the sausages are cooked through.
  5. Serve, with some shredded, buttered savoy cabbage if you like.
Do you enjoy any traditional New Year foods?