Merguez Sausages with Moroccan Spiced Puy Lentils

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Christmas is over and 2017 is well and truly underway!  It’s time for something a little different, and this recipe is fantastic.  It’s a great winter warmer, and perfect for cooking indoors or on the BBQ.

You can use any sausages you like here, but Merguez – a red, spicy mutton or beef based fresh sausage of North African origin – are wonderful. I used goat Merguez sausages which are available from Turner & George courtesy of Cabrito, but go with what you like.  A spicy sausage works well though.

You’ll need a 2 zone cooking setup on the BBQ, at a medium heat of around 180˚c – 200˚c.  You want an area to grill direct and get your casserole dish heated up for frying, and an indirect area for moving your dish over to continue cooking.  If cooking indoors, use your hob and oven at the same temperatures.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 heaped tsp Ras el Hanout paste
1 heaped tbs tomato purée
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
250g puy lentils
150ml white wine
400g can of chopped tomatoes
300ml vegetable stock
A couple of fresh bay leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 of your favourite sausages
A good handfull of chopped, fresh flat leaf parsley for serving

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Method

Set up your BBQ as described above.  Once your fuel is up to temperature, pop a cast iron casserole dish (that has a lid) over the direct side of the grill and get it warmed up for a couple of minutes.  Add the olive, red onion and garlic and fry off until starting to gently colour.  Move the dish away from the direct heat occasionally if it’s getting too hot.

Next add the Ras el Hanout, tomato purée, cumin and paprika and stir everything together for a couple of minutes.  Tip in the lentils, stirring to coat in the spice mixture, and them add the white wine.

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Allow to simmer for a minute or two and then add the tomatoes, veg stock and bay leaves.  Stir well, place the lid on the casserole dish and move it over to indirect heat.

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Allow to cook for 20 – 30 minutes or until the lentils are soft and have absorbed all the liquid.  Taste for seasoning at this point, adding salt and pepper to taste.  Once cooked, grill the sausages.

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Divide the lentils between 4 bowls, slice up the sausages and mound on top.  Sprinkle generously with the chopped parsley and serve alongside a green salad and a nice glass of wine!

Enjoy!

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