Lentils with Cherries, Sausage & Gorgonzola

Adapted from recipe from

Ottolenghi: The Cookbook

Serves 2 as a meal or 4 as a starter

125g (4.4 oz) green lentils

2 bay leaves

2 shallots, finely chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons water

1/2 of a 400g (14 oz) tin of black cherries, drained

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

3 pork sausages, casings removed and crumbled into small pieces

2 very generous handfuls baby spinach leaves

120g (4 oz) Gorgonzola

flaky sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

extra virgin olive oil for serving

Put lentils into a sieve and run under cold water until the water runs clear.  Transfer the lentils to a medium saucepan, and add enough cold water to cover them by three times their depth.  Add bay leaves to the pan, bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for approximately 20 minutes - until lentils are cooked through, but still have a little bit of bite to them.

While lentils are cooking, make the sauce.  Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a small pan over medium heat.  Add shallots to the pan and saute until golden.  Add the water, cherries and vinegar, and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes until you have a thickish sauce.  Remove from heat, taste, and season with salt and pepper.

Drain the cooked lentils and immediately add to the sauce.  Stir together so that the lentils can soak up all the flavour.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.  You will need to add quite a lot of salt, but do keep in mind that the Gorgonzola you will be adding later is quite salty.  Set aside to cool.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a saute pan and fry the pieces of sausage until browned all over.  Remove to a paper towel to drain and cool.  Then add the sausage pieces and spinach leaves to the lentils and mix well.  Taste once more to see if you need to further adjust the seasoning.

Transfer to a serving platter, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil, and strew chunks of Gorgonzola over the top.