Beer-braised sausages with chorizo, lentils and red cabbage – an easy and satisfying stew that’s simply perfect for winter!
I occasionally find myself with a totally empty fridge – to quote my daughter ‘there’s, like, nothing edible in here!’. Of course that’s not strictly true – there’s plenty of edibles in the fridge but nothing that immediately jumps up and yells ‘dinner!’. What do you do with cabbage (both red and Chinese) and sausages? Make a stew of course! Throw in a bit of chorizo lurking in a corner of the fridge and you have – ta-da!! – beer-braised sausages with chorizo, lentils and red cabbage – an easy and satisfying stew that’s simply perfect for winter.
Braised red cabbage is a favourite side dish of mine – I always make some at Christmas. I kept the spices from my festive recipe here: star anise, cinnamon and a touch of ground cloves. I also threw in some leftover homemade cranberry sauce which gives this stew a lovely tangy sweetness. Lentils are a staple in my kitchen and they pair so well with sausages – they simply had to be added to bulk up the stew. If you wanted to make a vegetarian version you could leave out the chorizo and replace the sausages with veggie equivalent.
I made this stew in my trusty Le Creuset shallow casserole but I am certain you could also make it in a slow cooker and add the sausages towards the end of the cooking. I also used my favourite Amstel beer – you could replace with stock if you would rather drink it – it adds a wonderful slightly sour note that goes wonderfully with both the cabbage and sausages.
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- 6 pork sausages – at least 90% pork content
- 100g | 3½oz cooking chorizo, casing removed, cut into small cubes
- 200g | 7 oz dried lentils, rinsed
- 300g | 10½ oz red cabbage
- 200g | 7 oz Chinese (Napa) cabbage
- 1 large leek, topped and tailed
- 1 large onion, peeled
- 2 star anise
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 tbsp cranberry sauce
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp dried thyme or a sprig fresh thyme
- pinch ground cloves
- 400ml | 13 fl oz hot vegetable or chicken stock
- 330ml | 11 fl oz lager beer
- 60ml | 2 fl oz red wine vinegar
- olive oil
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- chopped flat leaf parsley to garnish
- Preheat the oven to 180c (350F).
- Put the lentils in a sausepan and cover with cold water (or stock if you prefer). Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
- Use a food processor fitted with a large blade to shred the cabbage, leek and onion. Alternatively chop by hand.
- Heat a large casserole dish and dry fry the chorizo until it starts releasing some of its spicy oil. Set aside.
- Fry the sausages in the same pan until nicely browned on all sides but not cooked completely. Set aside.
- Deglaze the pan with a splash of beer, scraping any browned bits.
- Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pan and fry the cabbage, leek and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Inititally the pan will be very full but they will soon cook down.
- Add the star anise, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cranberry sauce, brown sugar, thyme and cloves. Stir to combine.
- Add the stock, remaining beer and vinegar and bring to a simmer.
- Cover the casserole and cook in the oven for 1 hour.
- Remove from the oven and stir in the chorizo and lentils. Add the sausages either whole or sliced into three pieces on the diagonal.
- Return to the oven for a further 20-30 minutes, uncovered, until the sausage is cooked through and liquid is reduced.
- Serve sprinkled with plenty of fresh parsley.
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