I love Autumn. The beautiful crisp air and rich, golden colours. The earthy scent of fallen leaves. The comfy boots and chunky knits. The irresistible pumpkin spice lattes. The alluring smell of cinnamon, nutmeg and freshly baked apples...
This season has my name written all over it, at least until Spring arrives anyway.
I think today's dish captures the essence of Autumn wonderfully. Earthy Puy lentils, honey-mustard glazed pork sausages, roasted sweet potatoes, and crisp red onion - complimented by a light and tangy balsamic vinaigrette. Comforting. Hearty. Delicious.
It has to be said that quality ingredients are key here. Choosing the best sausages you can find will really make a difference. I recommend a meaty Cumberland or Toulouse style sausage. As for lentils, the Puy variety are the way to go.
Feel free to substitute pumpkin or butternut squash for sweet potato, they are equally delicious. Enjoy!
Warm Sausage, Sweet Potato & Puy Lentil Salad
1 large sweet potato, cut into triangular wedges (or substitute 1 small-medium peeled seeded butternut squash or pumpkin)
150g Puy lentils
1 Bay leaf
6 good quality pork sausages
1 red onion, finely sliced
4 handfuls salad greens such as lamb's lettuce or baby spinach
2 tbls runny honey
2 tbls wholegrain mustard
Salt & black pepper
4 tbls extra virgin olive oil
2 tbls balsamic vinegar
A few good pinches sea salt
A good pinch or two of sugar
Preheat oven to 200C/400F. Place the sweet potatoes on a roasting tray. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until tender. While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the sausages and lentils. Tip the lentils into a saucepan and cover generously with water or stock. (The water will need to be at least 1 inch above the lentils). Add the bay leaf and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, covered for about 20 minutes or until al dente. Drain the lentils, then drizzle with a little olive oil and season if necessary.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and cook the sausages, turning frequently, until golden and cooked through. Set aside to cool slightly. Once cooled, cut at an angle into thick slices.
Mix together the mustard and honey and set aside. Whisk all dressing ingredients together, then taste and season to your liking.
When the sweet potatoes are soft and golden remove from the oven. Add the sausage slices to the pan and gently toss the potatoes and sausages with the honey/mustard mixture. Return to the oven for a further 5 minutes or until everything becomes deliciously sticky.
Layer plates or bowls with salad greens, lentils and the sausages and potatoes. Top with thinly sliced red onion and drizzle with balsamic dressing.