Browsing the farmers' market at Castle Terrace this weekend, I picked up some venison sausages from Seriously Good Venison. One of many great producers from Fife, there's no fear of what's in their sausages, simply venison, pork fat, oatmeal and a little spice mix, all wrapped up in natural casings. This venison is lean, healthy and responsibly farmed, and not just at home in winter stews or sliced seared and rare at dinner parties. It's ideal for everyday cooking too.
I browned the sausages in a Le Creuset before cooking scraps of onion, carrot and celery found in the fridge. For this recipe I planned to use up a lot of vegetables and pulses I already had in, so I bought these sausages to meat-up the meal. After the first tranche of veg went chopped peppers, tomatoes, tomato puree and wine, then back in with the sausages. To this I added vegetable stock and a mix of green and Puy lentils, what I happened to have in the cupboard. You could use all of one kind, I prefer Puy, they are quicker, prettier and tastier.
|Venison Sausages with Puy Lentils|
The sausages, vegetables and lentils are simmered for 20-30 minutes, till cooked. The sausages, which I worried could be dry and overcooked, were perfect, cut through with a little juicy fat against the wholesome peppers and lentils. Even though summer approaches this is a brilliant casserole for drizzly Edinburgh days. The sausages, lentils and the basic method are all you need; the vegetables can be adapted according to what you have available. Of course, it is a lot tastier with the flavours and colours from the garlic, celery, tomatoes, and wine, but don't let that put you off! Sausages and lentils are a classic combination, so if you don't have venison on your doorstep get the best pork or beef ones you can find. The red-meatiness of the venison works well as an alternative to pork so beef should be great too.
Venison Sausages with Puy Lentils
Serves 2 with seconds and scraps/Serves 4 with bread
Ingredients:one packet venison sausages
one small white onion finely chopped
two cloves garlic sliced
one carrot diced
one celery stick chopped
bay leaf (fresh or dried)
sprig of thyme
one and a half diced peppers, any colour (I used a half of three)
two tomatoes, roughly chopped
small glass of white wine
one tbsp tomato puree
500ml vegetable stock
200g Puy or green lentils (also haricot beans would work well. a mix works if you are using up cupboard scraps but probably works better with one type of pulse)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
To servecrusty bread
flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- Heat a casserole dish medium high. Add a splash of olive oil, then brown the sausages for a few minutes in the oil. Transfer to a plate and keep safe.
- Add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery and herbs. Season and cook at a low heat with the lid on to soften.
- After about ten minutes your kitchen should be smelling great! Add the peppers and tomatoes. Give everything a good stir, turn up the heat and add the wine. Let it bubble for a moment, then add in the tomato puree, stir through and cook for another minute.
- Put the sausages back in the casserole, pour over the stock and lentils. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 20-30 minutes till the lentils are cooked. You may need to add a splash of stock or hot water, depending on how greedy your lentils are. Adjust seasoning to taste - this can take a good bit of pepper.
- Sprinkle over the parsley and bring to the table. Serve a couple of generous ladles each on a trencher of crusty bread.
You can find Seriously Good Venison at several Scottish Farmers' Markets.They'll also be at this year's Crail Food Festival; discover more about them in this featured post on the Crail Food Festival website, including more recipes and some great pics!