I like all lentils but Puy lentils are a particular favourite. I love them in a salad with roast carrots and feta and you could also use them instead of canned green lentils in the warm aubergine and lentil salad that I shared last week. They are a small lentil with a bluey-green marbled skin. To be called Puy lentils they must come from the region of Le Puy in France. I have no doubt that a farmer from Le Puy would disagree with me but I think you can quite happily substitute similar lentils grown in other areas which are usually labelled as green and/or dark speckled lentils. It’s like champagne: To be called champagne it must come from that specific region of France but you can get very good champagne-style wines from other areas. The lentils in my photo are actually Suma’s dark speckled lentils.
This recipe turns them into a hearty rib-sticking Puy lentil sauce which is great served with veggie sausages on a cold winter evening. It has evolved from two recipes, a combination of the lentil sauce from the vegetable and lentil moussaka recipe in “Cornucopia At Home” and Nigel Slater’s recipe for sausage with lentils and balsamic vinegar in “Real Good Food”.
If I’m serving it with veggie sausages I allow two sausages per person (and always have some English mustard on the side). It’s also good topped with mashed potato to make a shepherd’s pie or layered with aubergines and potatoes for a moussaka. Plus I could happily eat it on its own. It’s filling and pretty healthy 🙂
- 100g Puy lentils
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- A small knob of butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 4 vegetarian sausages
- 200g chestnut mushrooms, chopped
- 1 tsp balsamic or red wine vinegar
- Rinse the lentils in a sieve under cold running water and then put them in a saucepan with plenty of boiling water.
- Simmer until cooked. This usually takes 25-30 minutes but start checking them from about 20 minutes. They should be tender but not mushy. Drain them and put them to one side.
- While the lentils are cooking heat 1 tbsp of olive in a second saucepan and gently fry the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes to soften.
- Add ground cumin and cinnamon and cook for another 2 minutes stirring to make sure that spices don't stick or burn.
- Add the tomatoes, oregano and bay leaf and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 30 minutes with a lid on, stirring occasionally.
- While the sauce is cooking you can prepare the sausages and mushrooms.
- Cook the sausages according to the instructions on the packet.
- Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and a knob of butter in a frying pan and fry the mushrooms until cooked and golden brown.
- Mix the mushrooms and lentils into the cooked sauce and reheat it if necessary.
- Stir in the vinegar just before serving.
- Serve the sauce with the sausages on top.