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Braised Lentils

ingredients

1 lb (500 g) continental lentils
4 rashers streaky bacon
1 small onion
1 medium-sized carrot
1 leek, green part only
5 fl oz (150 ml) dry white wine
8 oz (250 g) tinned tomatoes, drained and seeded
2 - 2 1/4 pints (1.2 litres) vegetable stock or chicken stock
4 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

serve with:

good-quality, highly flavoured sausages

method

1. Rinse the lentils thoroughly in a sieve under running cold water. Peel the onion and the carrot; remove the tough, outermost green layers of the leek and wash the inner part thoroughly; chop these three vegetables together very finely.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed flameproof casserole dish and sweat the chopped vegetable mixture in it for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Turn up the heat, add the lentils and cook for 2 - 3 minutes while stirring.

3. Pour in the wine and when it has almost completely evaporated, add the chopped tomato flesh. Pour in sufficient stock to cover the lentils. Simmer very gently with a tightly fitting lid for about 1 hour, or until the lentils are tender.

4. Add a little salt and some freshly ground pepper; if there is a lot of liquid remaining in the casserole dish, cook, uncovered over a moderately high heat for a few minutes to reduce and thicken.

5. Serve with full-flavoured or spicy grilled/broiled or boiled sausages or poultry dishes.

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