Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sausage & Lentil Stew

Happy New Year Readers! I hope you had a fun and peaceful holiday.  Trevor and I flew from Austin back to Vermont to see family, and we had a beautiful white Christmas complete with touch football in the snow, two Yankee swaps, and a Christmas ham the size of an ottoman.  
Yesterday was my first day back at work after the break and a co-worker asked me what resolutions I had made for the new year.  I shrugged him off saying that I had made none, when in fact I do have a few resolutions up my sleeve.  2011 is going to be a big year for our little family.  In May we are expecting a baby boy!
  • My first resolution for the New Year is to keep my camera in the kitchen, even if the lens gets spattered with grease (that's what a protective lens cover is for, right?).  My goal is to document what I cook so that I can post pictures with recipes to make it easier for you all to follow what I am doing.  
  • My second resolution is to continue feeding myself well.  I feel fortunate that during my pregnancy I have had no real food aversions or crazy cravings.  It is important for me (and for baby boy) that I continue drinking lots of water and eating a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, protein, and calcium-rich foods. 
  • My third resolution is to get on top of my gardening. I have been a delinquent waterer, and my veggies are looking very pathetic.  
This Sausage and Lentil Stew is the perfect meal for a cold winters night.  It is healthy, inexpensive, and seriously delicious!  I adapted my recipe from a recipe I saw over at Food52.  I cut back on the garlic, subbed tomato paste for ketchup, and cooked my lentils in the soup.  This could be a great crock-pot recipe if you are not one who enjoys tending to the stove.  I used my big dutch oven and let it simmer away while I did other chores around the house.  Trevor loved this dish.  By cooking everything together, the lentils are imbued with the rich flavors of the sausage, wine, onions and spices.  

Sausage & Lentil Stew
Serves 4
Olive oil
1 lb. (or three links) mild Italian sausage
Two bay leaves
One onion, diced
Two large carrots, diced
Two stalks celery, diced
1 tablespoon marjoram
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup red wine
1 box chicken stock (low sodium)
1 1/2 cups green lentils
Salt and pepper to taste
3-4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • In a large dutch oven or other high sided heavy pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil.  Squeeze sausage from casings and brown in the oil along with one of the bay leaves.  
  • When sausage is browned on all sides, remove with a slotted spoon to a plate or bowl and set aside.  Add another splash of oil to the pot if necessary and sautee onions until translucent, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot.  Add carrot, celery, the 2nd bay leaf, garlic and marjoram, stirring well.  Let cook for 2-3 minutes.  
  • Clear a well in the center of the vegetables and add tomato paste.  Let the paste 'toast' for a minute or two before deglazing pan with red wine, stirring well to scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pot.  
  • Add chicken stock, lentils and sausage and bring to a simmer.  Stir periodically, adding a splash or two of water if needed.  
  • Cook for about an hour or until lentils are soft.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, and right before serving add the red wine vinegar to taste.  

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