This past week has seen Auckland’s typical Spring weather, “4 seasons in one day”, return with a vengeance, this phrase having been made famous by Neil Finn and co. of Crowded House – true Kiwi music icons. We’ve had quite heavy rain and fantastic loud, thundery storms with the accompanying lightning. So loud that it wakes you up with quite a fright in the night and the walls seem to quiver a little, but then you realise how blessed you are to be warm and safe and then snuggle back down under the covers and drift off to sleep with the sound of the rain and wind lashing the world outside.
I had thought it was time to begin concocting various salads again, but we’ve been able to extend the comfort food a little longer with pasta bakes, stews and soups. This particular recipe is an old favourite that is supposed to be a stew served with mashed potato or rice, but I like to serve it up with home baked crusty bread or thick slices of still-warm bread fresh from the oven. I was surprised to see it in this month’s Food magazine as it almost matches word for word the original recipe I took from the Your Family magazine back in about 2000, with the exception of one or two ingredients. Another easy, inexpensive hearty meal which can be stretched to feed the masses if necessary.
Sausage, Herb and Lentil Stew (Soup)
1 Tbsp oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
4 – 5 cooked sausages (I like pure Angus Beef), chopped
1½ Tbsp plain flour
2½ cups beef stock
410 g can chopped tomatoes
½ tsp mixed herbs
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
410 g can lentils, drained
salt and freshly ground black pepper
handful fresh chopped parsley
- In a large pan, heat the oil and fry the sausages (or grill them in the oven). When cooked and slightly browned, remove from the pan and set them aside.
- Add the onion, garlic and chopped carrot (and a little more oil if necessary), and gently fry until the onion is soft.
- Slice the sausages into chunks and add to the pan, along with the flour, stirring to coat the flour and so that it doesn’t stick.
- Add the stock a little at a time, mixing well after each addition to remove any lumps, then add the chopped tomatoes, mixed herbs and balsamic vinegar.
- Simmer the stew gently until the liquid has reduced (or don’t – I like to leave the liquid as is so don’t tend to simmer too long, just enough to allow the flavours to develop – I then serve it as a chunky soup with the bread).
- Stir in the drained lentils and heat through.
- Season with the salt and pepper and garnish with the parsley.
Note that if there are leftovers and you reserve them for another meal, the lentils will absorb much of the liquid so on re-heating, you may need to add a little more hot water/stock but not too much as you don’t want to dilute the flavours.
Click Crusty Healthy Homemade Bread for the recipe.