Tag Archives: onion

Toulouse sausages with Puy lentils and exiled hens

Our hens are in exile; they have been forced from their homeland by an overabundance of horses. Four was fine, desirable even; it created a cosy ‘chicken sandwich’ environment. But the newly-arrived pony was the final straw – she’s a Quadruped Lout Too Far and a tiny bit scornful perhaps at the deference required to lay an egg.

So they’ve set up camp on the fourth-floor shelf of the workshop on some torn-up sheets. Not without much shrill, dyspeptic screeching, I might add. I feel a bit bad that all they found for their nest was old sheets and not pashminas, but such is the life of a hen. I only discovered their new hideout because, reaching for an old sheet to clean my saddle, I unwittingly scrambled an egg at my feet. I assume they think that the workshop is horseproof – I’m afraid they’re in for a surprise 😉

Puy Green Lentils (grown on the vocanic soil of the ‘Massif Central’) are prized above other lentils for their strong peppery flavor and firmness, even after cooking. High in fiber and protein, they also contain dietary fibre, folate, vitamin B1, and minerals. As if all that isn’t enough, they also have a very low GI (glycemic index).

Ingredients (serves four)

4 Toulouse sausages

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small red onion, peeled and chopped

3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

5 mushrooms, peeled and sliced

3 medium sized carrots, peeled and cut into 3cm pieces

1 tin (400g) of plum tomatoes

200g of Puy lentils

2 sprigs of rosemary

1 bay leaf

250ml chicken stock

seasoning to taste: sea salt, fresh black pepper, paprika

Preheat the oven to 150°C. If you have a griddle pan, griddle the sausages briefly. If not, searing them will do just as well. Gently fry the onions, garlic and mushrooms in olive oil to soften them. Add the griddled/seared sausage, the plum tomatoes and carrots and continue to heat. Add the lentils, chicken stock, herbs and seasoning and bring back to a gentle simmer. Cook in the oven for about 45 minutes, checking from time to time that there is enough liquid – the lentils absorb an enormous amount.

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Tunisian meatloaf

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Although I never let slip a chance to take a cheap pop at vegetarians (our horses, for example – how could anyone in their right mind just eat grass all day?), I’m not exactly a flesh-ripping carnivore myself. In fact, … Continue reading

Basque Chicken


Our multi-talented Spanish carpenter, who my husband disparagingly refers to as the ‘poet’ (as in Real Men Don’t Do Poetry), gave us several jars of his home-made spicy tomato sauce, which my son then referred to as ‘ketchup in a jar’. Between them, husband and son make quite sure that neither carpenter nor tomato sauce get too up themselves.

Poulet Basquaise should really be made with Espelette pepper, which is a cross between paprika and chilli pepper, and is a speciality of the village of Espelette in the Basque country.

Ingredients (serves 4)

4 chicken thighs and 4 legs

1 tin of peeled tomatoes (or homemade if possible)

1 tin of white beans

4 cloves of garlic

1 onion

5 mushrooms, sliced

1 bell pepper

1 cup of black olives

olive oil

sprig of rosemary

1 glass of white wine

seasoning to taste (salt, pepper, paprika, chilli powder or if possible Espelette pepper)

Chop the onions, garlic and mushrooms and add to the olive oil in an oven-proof casserole dish. Cook until golden and then add the chicken pieces, which should also be cooked until golden-brown on both sides. Add the wine, herbs and seasoning and cook for about 2 minutes so that the chicken can absorb the wine. Add the tomatoes and heat until simmering. Lastly add the beans and olives and cook in a medium oven (150°C) until the tomatoes begin to caramalise (just under two hours).

Poulet Basquaise is usually served with sauté potatoes or rice, although I often serve it with polenta and a crisp green salad.

Chicken in the pot

This dish is traditional Sunday fare in Aquitaine. It was made popular by Henri IV who declared his hope to be that France would become peaceful and prosperous enough for every family to be able to enjoy ‘poule au pot’ every Sunday. This is obviously my ‘take’ on the dish; I don’t think that French families had access to Lee and Perrins sauce in Henri IV’s day.

Today is election day. Here’s to hoping that our next president will bear Henri’s good intentions for peace and prosperity in mind…

Ingredients (serves 6)

1 chicken

1 onion

1 leek

3 cloves of garlic

3 medium carrots

1 cup of peas

5 mushrooms (sliced)

1 courgette

rosemary, bayleaf

olive oil

glass of white wine

Lee and Perrins sauce

2 tablespoons of redcurrant jelly

seasoning to taste (sea salt, pepper and paprika)

Lightly brown the onion, garlic and mushrooms in the olive oil in a casserole dish. Add the chicken and brown on both sides. Add a good slug of Lee and Perrins and the redcurrant jelly and continue heating. Add the sliced carrots, rosemary and bayleaf and turn chicken right-side-up. Season generously and add the glass of white wine. If you don’t have any wine open, you can use apple juice for a sweeter taste, or just water with a tiny bit of chicken stock.

Put the lid on the casserole and cook in a medium oven (150°C) for about an hour and a half. You should check half way through that there is still some liquid left in the bottom of the casserole (a couple of centimetres is ideal). If there is too much liquid you could take the lid off for the last 15 minutes. The peas and sliced courgettes should be added about 20 minutes before serving so that they stay firm.

This is lovely served with mashed potato any green vegetable.