In this recipe that cooks dried lentils with raw sausage in the same pan, the lentils soak up the sausage juices as they cook, making the humble lentil tastier than you might think. Sausage and lentils for dinner? Yes. bring it on!
One-pan baked sausage and lentils
This looks like an unusual one pot recipe (what do you mean you never thought of baking lentils in the oven with sausage on top??!!), but it’s delicious and super easy to let go.
It starts by sautéing the spices – Italian shallots/shallots/French onions, garlic and cumin seeds – on a grill pan on the stove. Add the dried lentils and broth, raw sausage on top, then just put it in the oven.
No need to deal with splatters from the sausage oven. There are no bland lentils – the sausage flavor boost is everything! Lentils are nice and juicy, so they make a great sausage sauce!
In fact, no matter how hard a greedy cookbook author tries to sell you a recipe, almost any pot-and-roast recipe can affect the outcome. Stews are a good example. No matter what anyone tells you, if you throw everything into the slow cooker or the Instant Pot, the end result will never be as good as first charring a cube of beef and then simmering it in the oven or on the stove.
This plate of sausages and lentils? Here’s how it differs from cooking sausages on the stove and making a pot of lentil stew by itself:
- The underside of the sausages don’t get browned. But there’s enough browning on the surface that you won’t feel robbed. This coming from a food-browning fiend! Colour = flavour!
- The lentils don’t cook as evenly as the traditional method on the stove. The very top layer of exposed lentils has a soft crunch (the darker brown lentils in the photo below), and everything underneath is perfect (the olive green ones below).Ironically, I love the firmer lentils, they are like nuts. I want to scoop them all off and put it in my bowl! (Oh wait, I DID. )
What you need
Here’s everything you need to make this baked sausage and lentils. The juice that drips into the lentils as they cook provides a huge boost (for free!). (PS don’t skip the cumin seeds).
Although I think it works best with lentils, I really just do it with green/brown lentils and it works great!
- Sausages (I use pork) – Any sausages you want, though just bear in mind size for serving portions. I’ve used 2 sausages per serving so opted for medium size ones around 85g/3oz each. Also, if you use gigantic ones, you may struggle to fit them in! You want a bit of space around the sausages to allow for browning – if they are too snug, they will just stew. Nobody wants pale, colourless sausages!!
- Puy lentils (French Lentils) – Known by several names including Puy Lentils, French Lentils, French Green Lentils or Black Lentils, these differ from other lentil varieties because they hold their shape better, have a deeper, nuttier flavour and lovely chew. See below for a close up photo.Also works with green lentils / brown lentils. They are slightly softer – it’s how they are – but they cook just as well in the oven as puy lentils!Canned lentils won’t work for the recipe as written because the whole point here is that dried lentils are cooked in flavoured broth so they absorb the flavour. This is what makes this dish so delicious!
- Cumin seeds – Promise me you won’t skip this! Makes the lentils sing.
- Eschalot – Aromatic flavour base for the dish. Also known as French onions and called “shallots” in the US. They are like baby onions, but with purple-skinned flesh. Not to be confused with what some people in Australia call “shallots”, ie. the long green onions. Substitute with ordinary brown onion.
- Garlic – The other essential flavour base for this dish.
- Chicken stock/broth – The braising liquid. Makes this dish much tastier than just using water.
How to make one-pan baked sausage and lentils
The recipe starts with sautéing in a skillet on the stove. It’s okay if your burners are much smaller than the pan – mine are! Simply place the shallots, garlic, etc. in the center of the pan and heat.
- Sauté aromatics – Cook the eschallots and garlic in a metal roasting pan on the stove until the eschallots are softened, about 3 minutes. Then add the cumin seeds and sauté for a minute until they’re nice and toasty.
- Add the dried lentils straight into the roasting pan.
- Add everything else – Then add the chicken stock, raw chopped carrots, salt and pepper. Stir and bring the liquid to a simmer.
- Sausages – Turn the heat off and gently place the raw sausages on the surface, don’t push them in. They will be partially submerged and that’s ok.
- Paper – Cover the surface with a sheet of paper with slits in it (see below). It will stick naturally to the exposed liquid.
- Bake – Transfer to a 200°C/400°F (180°C fan) oven. Bake for 25 minutes covered then 20 minutes uncovered until the sausages are browned. Dinner, done in one pan. No sausage stove-splatter to deal with – how good is that???!!
What’s up with the paper cover? ?
This method of using a paper “cover” is a cooking technique used in various cuisines such as Persian lamb shanks. In classic French cuisine, this is called a cartouche. It steams food evenly and quickly while releasing steam so you won’t have issues with uneven condensation if the lid breaks. Here’s the little trick in this recipe to cook lentils evenly in the oven, courtesy of Chef JB.
As I mentioned before, lentils are delicious and flavorful without drying out or becoming brittle. Thus, it can be used as a sauce for sausages. Really, kind of like a triple side dish. It is a “sauce” for starches (to garnish meals), vegetables (carrots + shallots) and sausages.
Who knew contact lenses had such incredible powers?
Who knew lentils could be so delicious? Because who has ever thought of cooking lentils with sausages*? ?
I really hope you try this. continue.
I know you have a bag of lentils somewhere in the dark depths of your pantry! !