IN THE McKenna household, especially mid-week, the kids are always big fans of sausages. Thus, this week's recipes are quick and easy suppers which provide delicious alternatives to bangers and mash!
Not only that, they also use ingredients which are always lurking in the cupboard – so if you have a packet of lentils stashed in the larder you should really try this by picking up some sausages, or accidentally finding some in the freezer, which happens to me all the time!
Today there are a whole range of different sausage flavours available in the supermarkets and local butchers and the venison from locally owned company Finnebrogue in Killyleagh grace the shelves of most major supermarkets.
These are great winter-warming dishes which you can add more ingredients too once you get the method right. The tomato recipe is great with sweet potato or orecchiette pasta.
I hope you will all be voting for Northern Ireland's Signature Dish which I have been lucky to be involved in. Myself and three other chefs have created three dishes that all use local produce and really sum up how our Year of Food and Drink can bring out the best in homegrown goods.
All you have to do is visit Discovernorthernireland.com and vote.
Venison sausages with lentils
8 venison sausages
1 tblsp olive oil
4 slices smoked bacon, chopped
6 shallots, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
sprig of rosemary
1 tblsp tomato puree
200g puy lentils
500ml chicken stock
1 tblsp redcurrant jelly
fresh parsley, chopped
Start by heating a heavy casserole dish with the olive oil and cook off the sausages on a medium het until browned. Once browned, remove from the pot and add in the bacon and fry off for a couple of minutes, add in the shallots and garlic and cook for a further minute.
Next, add in the tomato puree and cook again for a further minute, add in the lentils and stir, add in the port and stock and bring the ingredients to the boil and then reduce to a simmer.
Cook for 30 minutes until the lentils have soaked up all the stock and most of the liquid has disappeared. Stir in the redcurrant jelly and add the sausages back in. Cook until the sausages are warmed through and sprinkle over the chopped parsley and serve.
Sausages with tomato and bay leaf
6 pork sausages
4 shallots, chopped
2 sticks of celery, chopped
1 jar passata tomatoes
2 bay leaves, chopped
1 sprig thyme, picked
1 tsp chilli flakes
Pre-heat the oven to 200C and place the sausages in a roasting tray with the shallots and cook in the oven until slightly browned. Add in the celery, covering the ingredients with the tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme and chilli flakes with a cup of water and season with salt and pepper and cook for a further 15 minutes.
Once cooked through, mix ingredients and serve. You can serve this with new boiled potatoes crushed with a little olive oil.