Good butcher’s sausages add lots of flavour and oomph to one-pot dishes. Here they make a tasty and inexpensive supper, suitable for family or friends. The dish was inspired by Lidgate’s pork and Guinness sausages. The dark beer adds a savoury depth and here goes well, in both looks and taste, with the dark prunes and fresh leeks. Firm green lentils absorb the flavour of the other ingredients and give the dish body, making a most satisfying all-in-one meal.
2 tablespoons good lard, olive oil or vegetable oil
8 meaty pork sausages
2 leeks, sliced
1½ tablespoons plain flour
250ml (8fl oz) Guinness or other stout
500ml (17fl oz) chicken or pork stock
18 whole pitted prunes
100g (3½oz) firm green lentils (e.g. Puy or other small round lentils)
squeeze of lemon juice or pinch of demerara sugar (optional)
2 tablespoons roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
Place 1 tablespoon of the lard or oil in a flameproof casserole dish over a medium-high heat. When hot, add the sausages and brown them all over (about 8–10 minutes). You might need to do this in 2 batches, depending on the size of your dish. Set aside on a plate.
Add the remaining tablespoon of fat to the pan. When hot, add the leeks and cook over a medium-low heat until soft (about 5 minutes).
Sprinkle over the flour and stir for a minute. Pour in the stout, bring to the boil and let it bubble away for a couple of minutes. Add the stock, prunes and lentils, then return the sausages back to the dish. Add a few twists of pepper and just a touch of salt as the sausages and stock are already salted). Bring to the boil, then simmer, uncovered, for 25–30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender – they don’t need to be completely soft – and the sausages are cooked. Stir a couple of times whilst cooking and check the seasoning at the end, adjusting if necessary. If the dish is too salty, a squeeze of lemon juice or a pinch of demerara can make the dish more palatable.
Scatter the parsley over the dish and serve with mashed potato.