Sausage & Lentil Hotpot.

By Phill James.

As we come into the colder seasons, I find warming one-pot dishes to be just the ticket huddled around the fire with a glass of wine. I like mine quite spicy but leave out the chilli if you want. Make sure you get proper nice sausages. Serves 4.

Ingredients:

8 quality pork sausages (hickory smoked work brilliantly, as do nice Cumberlands.)
2 onions or 6 shallots
A small, peeled and cubed butternut squash (or half a bigger one)
200g lentils
650-700ml chicken stock
50ml red wine
2 fresh tomatoes (roughly chopped)
A chilli, diced with seeds removed
Olive oil or butter
Henderson's Relish
Parsley

Pre-heat the oven to 220°C (gas mark 7). Put the sausages in a roasting tin and cook for around 20 minutes until nicely browned. At the same time, heat the oil or butter in a large casserole dish and cook the onions until they start to soften. Add the cubed squash and the chilli and stir for another 30 seconds or so. Then add the lentils, stock and wine. Stir well and apply a generous helping of Henderson's Relish.

Take the sausages from the oven and place them low down in the casserole dish. Throw in the tomatoes and bring to the boil. Cover the dish and reduce the heat to simmer slowly. Leave it there for at least 45 minutes until everything is cooked through and the liquid has been absorbed. You can't overcook this dish and it tastes even better reheated, so don't worry if it takes longer. If it's too runny, throw in a bit of cornflour to thicken the sauce. Season well and serve with parsley and hunks of bread.

Lamb Shank Shepherd's Pie.

Courtesy of The Wick at Both Ends, West St.

There aren't many meals as satisfying as Shepherd's Pie. You can use mince to save on prep time, but you will lose a huge amount of flavour and aroma. It's seems a lot of bother, but the flavours of the slow cooked lamb and stock more than make up for a long cooking time. Serves 6.

Ingredients:

2kg of lamb shanks
2 pints of stout
2 large onions
4 large carrots
1 bulb of garlic
1 pint of beef stock
6-8 good-sized floury potatoes
2 tbsps of clear honey
1 small handful of parsley
1 large bunch of rosemary
Butter
Salt and pepper

Stand the lamb in a deep roasting tray with bones sticking up. Add one onion cut into rough wedges, the garlic cloves (separated but with skin), two-thirds of the rosemary, the stout and the stock. Season well. Cover with foil, making sure there are no tears and place in the middle of the oven at 160°C. Cook until the bones pull easily out of the meat (4-5 hours).

Check once an hour. When the shanks are cooked, drain on a rack, allow to cool and remove skin, bones and gristle. Keep the stock and garlic for the pie mix. Make a mash however you prefer. While hot, add butter and season well.

Dice your other onion and one large carrot. Soften over a medium heat in a large, deep pan. Squeeze in some of the garlic cloves and add the meat. Cook for 2-3 minutes then add a good ladle of the stock. Cook for another ten minutes until the liquid is reduced to a thick gravy. Lay the meat in the bottom of a large, deep ovenproof dish with a slotted spoon. You want the mix juicy but not too wet. Add more gravy if required. Add the mash and spread evenly on top. Place in the oven on 180°C and cook for 20 minutes.

Cut your remaining carrots into batons, par boil and add a pinch of salt. Drain. Place on a baking tray and add some oil and seasoning. Roast for 20 minutes next to the pie. After 10 minutes, coat in honey.

Turn the grill on to high. Add melted butter to the top of the pie and grill until golden brown. Add chopped parsley to carrots. Serve yourself a large portion and demolish.