450g pack low-fat sausages
1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
100ml/3½fl oz full-bodied red wine
200g/7oz Puy lentils
1 tbsp tomato purée
850ml/1½pts hot chicken or beef stock
juice ½ lemon
handful parsley, chopped, to serve
Squeeze the meat from the sausages into a large bowl. Add the fennel seeds and mix well with your hands. Shape the meat into 16 walnut-sized balls.
Heat 1 tsp of the oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Fry the meatballs for 5 mins, turning regularly, until golden but not completely cooked through. Remove to a plate.
Add the rest of the oil to the pan, tip in the onion, carrots and fennel, cover and let the veg sweat over a gentle heat for 10 mins until softened. Stir now and then.
Uncover the vegetables, turn up the heat and let them start to colour here and there. Stir in the garlic, sizzle for 1 min, then splash in the wine and let it reduce by half. Stir in the lentils, tomato purée and stock. Cover and simmer for 25 mins or until the lentils are almost tender. Add the sausageballs, plus a splash of water if the pan is looking a little dry. Cover and simmer for a further 10 mins until the meat is cooked through. Squeeze over the lemon juice, season to taste and scatter with parsley to serve.