Umbrian Lentil and Home-made Sausage Stew
This dish is truly wonderful when using the fresh sausages made by the local Norcian master butchers, who are known as norcini. As they may be difficult to find, I suggest making the sausages from scratch instead – it’s not too complicated, and it is well worth it. You can get hold of Castelluccio lentils, the Italian Puy lentils, in a good delicatessen.
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and squashed
- 50g sun-dried tomatoes cut into strips
- 7 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 250g Castelluccio lentils
- 450ml chicken stock
- 2 celery stalks, with leaves, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 500g minced pork
- 50ml strong red wine
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 mild chilli, finely chopped
- 1 tsp chopped rosemary
- Salt and pepper
- For the lentils, fry the garlic and the sun-dried tomatoes in 6 tbsp of the olive oil for a few minutes in a large pan. When the garlic starts to turn pale golden, add the lentils, stock and celery, and cook for 30 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Cover and keep warm over a low heat.
- Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl, mix the sausage ingredients together well and season with salt and pepper. Take a handful of mince and roll it into a sausage shape, 8cm long and 3cm in diameter. Wrap tightly in a piece of foil, closing by turning the ends as you would a sweet.
- Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Poach the sausages in the boiling water until they pop up to the surface, about 2-3 minutes. Leave to cool a little, then take of the foil. This poaching should ensure that the sausages hold together.
- Moisten the sausages with the remaining olive oil, then fry or grill (or roast) until golden on all sides, about 5 minutes.
- Add the sausages to the warm lentils, allow to cook gently together for 5 minutes. Eat with bread or, if you like, with a few boiled potatoes.