Friday, October 28, 2011

Sausage and Lentils with Fennel

Wife was in the mood for sausages, and as we already had fennel she did a Google search and came up with this recipe on Epicurious site. We'd just eaten at a wonderful French bistro (the Rende-Vous Cafe in Albany CA) and were still in the mood for something a bit French and rustic. This was a great idea and turned out to be a delicious meal.

1 cup French green lentils
4 1/2 cups cold water
bulb and fronds of 1 medium fennel
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil/pork fat
1 medium onion diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausages left whole
3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley chopped
black pepper
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Rinse the lentils and add to a saucepan with the water. Bring to a boil then let simmer until the lentils are soft, about 20 minutes.

While the lentils are cooking, prepare the fennel bulb by cutting in half through the root (vertically) and removing the hard core then dicing along with about 2 tablespoons of the fronds. Prepare and dice the onion and carrot. Add 3 tablespoons of the oil and/or pork fat to a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat. When hot add the cut fennel, carrot, onion with the fennel seeds and a pinch of salt to the pan and cook covered until the vegetables are soft, about 10-15 minutes.

While the vegetables are cooking, prick the sausages with a pin. Heat a small skillet over medium high heat with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil then add the sausages, cooking until well-browned and cooked through, about 15 minutes.

When the lentils are cooked, drain in a strainer over a bowl reserving the cooking water.  Stir the lentils into the pan with the vegetables with just enough of the cooking water to keep wet, about 1/2 cup, and cook until heated through. Season with the chopped parsley, salt, black pepper, red wine vinegar and another 1 tablespoon of the fronds.

When the sausages are cooked, remove from heat allowing them to cool for a couple of minutes then slice diagonally into 1/2 inch thick. Serve the lentils topped with the sausage and sprinkled with more chopped fennel fronds as a garnish and drizzle with olive oil.

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