Sausage and squash bake with lentils, red onions, spinach and mustard
This is a simple one-tray bake. By the time the squash has softened in the tray, the sausages should be browned and ready to burst. We crush the garlic cloves in their skins so they can impart their flavour without burning and becoming bitter; slip away the papery skins at the end and you should have a soft sweet centre. Dried chilli can vary in strength so we’ve made it optional. Add a cautious pinch if you want some heat; you can always add more at the end if you want.
1 butternut squash
2 red onions
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Light olive oil
4 pork and herb sausages
1 large stalk rosemary
1 tin dark lentils
½ tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)
2 tbsp coarse grain mustard
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6. Peel the squash and remove the soft, seedy core with a spoon. Discard the core. Cut the squash into roughly even 3cm chunks. Our squash will vary in size so, if it is particularly big measure out about 700g for roasting.
Peel the onions and cut each one into eight wedges. Crush the two garlic cloves with the heel of your hand so they just split open. Place the squash, onions, garlic and vinegar into the roasting tray. Add three tablespoons of oil, season well with salt and pepper and mix them well to coat.
Separate the sausages and rub them with a little oil. Sit them on top of the squash and onions. Place the tray in the oven to roast for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, put a pan of salted water on to boil. Thoroughly wash the spinach.
Blanch the spinach in the boiling water for about one minute until it wilts. Drain immediately and cool in cold water. Drain the cooled spinach. Use your hands to squeeze out as much excess water as you can. Place it on a board and coarsely chop it. Strip the leaves from the rosemary stalk and chop them finely.
Drain the lentils into a sieve and give them a rinse under cold water. Slide the roasting tray out of the oven. Remove the sausages. Squeeze the soft garlic cloves from their skins. Add the lentils, rosemary and chopped spinach to the pan.
Add a pinch of chilli if the fancy takes you. Mix well, pop the sausages back on top and return the roasting tray to the oven for five minutes to heat the lentils through. When ready, remove from the oven and check and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Divide the squash and lentil mix between two plates and top with the sausages. Please note, tinned lentils do have a tendency to lump together in the tin; this is normal and once rinsed they separate again.