In this recipe where both dried lentils and raw sausages are baked together in the same pan, the lentils absorb the sausage juices as they cook, making the humble lentils tastier than you ever dreamed possible. Sausage and lentils for dinner? YES. Bring it on!
One-pan baked sausage and lentils
This might sound like an unusual one-pan dinner recipe (what do you mean you never thought to cook lentils in the oven with sausages on top??!!), but is exceptionally delicious and fabulously hands off.
It starts by sautéing aromatics – eschalots/shallots/French onion (🤯*), garlic and cumin seeds – on the stove right in the roasting pan. Dried lentils and stock are added, raw sausages placed on top, then you simply pop it in the oven to do its thing.
No sausage stove splatter to deal with. No bland lentils – the flavour boost it gets from the sausages is everything! And the lentils are nice and juicy so they act as the sauce for the sausages!
* Food language global standardisation. Please! Someone make it happen!
Pretty much every one-pan-one-pot-dump-and-bake recipe has some compromise with the outcome, no matter how hard the enthusiastic recipe writer tries to sell a recipe to you. Stews are a great example. No matter what someone tells you, if you just dump everything in a slow cooker or instant pot, the end result will never be as good as searing the beef cubes then simmering low-and slow using the oven or stove.
The underside of the sausages don’t get browned. But there’s enough browning on the surface that you won’t feel robbed. This coming from a food-browning fiend! Colour = flavour!
The lentils don’t cook as evenly as the traditional method on the stove. The very top layer of exposed lentils has a soft crunch (the darker brown lentils in the photo below), and everything underneath is perfect (the olive green ones below).
Ironically, I love the firmer lentils, they are like nuts. I want to scoop them all off and put it in my bowl! (Oh wait, I DID. 😎)
What you need
Here’s all you need to make this one-pan baked sausage and lentils. The lentils get a massive (free!) flavour boost from the sausage juices that drip into the lentils as they cook. (PS Don’t skip the cumin seeds).
While I feel this works best with puy lentils, I literally just made this with green lentils/brown lentils and it worked great!
Sausages (I use pork) – Any sausages you want, though just bear in mind size for serving portions. I’ve used 2 sausages per serving so opted for medium size ones around 85g/3oz each. Also, if you use gigantic ones, you may struggle to fit them in! You want a bit of space around the sausages to allow for browning – if they are too snug, they will just stew. Nobody wants pale, colourless sausages!!
Puy lentils (French Lentils) – Known by several names including Puy Lentils, French Lentils, French Green Lentils or Black Lentils, these differ from other lentil varieties because they hold their shape better, have a deeper, nuttier flavour and lovely chew. See below for a close up photo.
Also works with green lentils / brown lentils. They are slightly softer – it’s how they are – but they cook just as well in the oven as puy lentils!
Canned lentils won’t work for the recipe as written because the whole point here is that dried lentils are cooked in flavoured broth so they absorb the flavour. This is what makes this dish so delicious!
Cumin seeds – Promise me you won’t skip this! Makes the lentils sing.
Eschalot – Aromatic flavour base for the dish. Also known as French onions and called “shallots” in the US. They are like baby onions, but with purple-skinned flesh. Not to be confused with what some people in Australia call “shallots”, ie. the long green onions. Substitute with ordinary brown onion.
Garlic – The other essential flavour base for this dish.
Chicken stock/broth – The braising liquid. Makes this dish much tastier than just using water.
How to make one-pan baked sausage and lentils
The recipe starts by sautéing aromatics on the stove, right in the roasting pan. It doesn’t matter if your burner is much smaller than the roasting pan – mine is! Just keep the eschallots, garlic etc in the middle of the pan over the heat.
Sauté aromatics – Cook the eschallots and garlic in a metal roasting pan on the stove until the eschallots are softened, about 3 minutes. Then add the cumin seeds and sauté for a minute until they’re nice and toasty.
Add the dried lentils straight into the roasting pan.
Add everything else – Then add the chicken stock, raw chopped carrots, salt and pepper. Stir and bring the liquid to a simmer.
Sausages – Turn the heat off and gently place the raw sausages on the surface, don’t push them in. They will be partially submerged and that’s ok.
Paper – Cover the surface with a sheet of paper with slits in it (see below). It will stick naturally to the exposed liquid.
Bake – Transfer to a 200°C/400°F (180°C fan) oven. Bake for 25 minutes covered then 20 minutes uncovered until the sausages are browned. Dinner, done in one pan. No sausage stove-splatter to deal with – how good is that???!!
What’s with the paper cover?? This method of using a paper “lid” is a cooking technique used in various cuisines (such as Persian Lamb Shanks). In classical French cooking, it’s called a cartouche. It allows foods to steam evenly and quickly, while allowing some steam to escape so you don’t have the problem of uneven condensation like you get with a cracked lid. It is the little trick in this recipe that allows the lentils to cook evenly in the oven, brought to us courtesy of Chef JB.
As I mentioned earlier, the lentils are nice and saucy, not dried out and crumbly. So it acts as the sauce for the sausage. Kind of like a triple-duty side dish, really. It’s the starch (fills out the meal), vegetables (carrots + eschalots) and the “sauce” for the sausages.
Who ever knew lentils held such magic powers?
And who ever knew lentils could be so incredibly delicious? Because who ever thought to cook lentils with sausages*??
Really hope you try this one. Go on. I know you’ve got a packet of lentils somewhere in the dark depths of your pantry!! – Nagi x
* It was not I who thought of this. It was RecipeTin’s very own lentil-loving Frenchman, Chef JB. Thank you JB!
Watch how to make it
One-pan baked sausage & lentils
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 eschallots/shallots , peeled, halved, finely sliced (sub 1 large onion, Note 1)
- 3 garlic cloves , finely minced
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds (don’t skip this!)
- 1 1/2 cups puy lentils / French lentils (sub green/brown lentils, Note 3)
- 4 small carrots , peeled, quartered, diced into 8mm/ 1/3″ cubes
- 1 tsp cooking salt (kosher salt)
- 3/4 tsp black pepper
- 3 cups chicken broth/stock , low sodium
- 8 x 85g/3oz pork sausages (Note 3)
- Pre-heat oven to 200°C/400°F (180°C fan).
- Cooking vessel – Use a metal roasting pan ~23 x 33 cm / 9 x 13". Fold a sheet of baking/parchment paper (large enough to cover pan) in half and cut 4 x ~10cm/4" slits (steam vents! Note 4). Else, use foil – just tear steam vents.
- Sauté aromatics – Put the pan directly on the stove (really, it's ok!) and heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add eschallots and garlic, sauté for 3 minutes until soft. Add cumin seeds and stir for 1 minute.
- Lentils & stock – Add dried lentils, carrot, salt, pepper and stock. Bring to a simmer.
- Sausages & paper – Gently place the sausages on top (don't press in). Cover with the paper, gently pressing so it "sticks" to the stock.
- Bake for 25 minutes on the middle shelf. Remove paper and bake for 20 more minutes to brown the sausages.
- Rest 5 min – Remove from the oven. Rest for 5 minutes.
- Serve the sausages with lentils. The flavour-loaded lentils are saucy so they act as the sauce for the sausages! Also pictured in post – baby spinach with Everyday Dressing.
Life of Dozer
I had an off-site team conference last week so Mr Dozer got sent to the golden retriever boarder. This is the dinnertime photo she sent me. That’s Dozer on the right – the tallest one, smacking his lips in anticipation!