Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Lentils with Chicken Sausage...

Jeff saw my pile of little green pearls on the counter and said "oh geez, those darn lentils again?". This time I got to roll my eyes and reply "Again? I haven't used them since November of last year! Give me a break!". Hee hee... just one more case of his "pretending" to not like an ingredient, yet in reality he does and just doesn't want to admit it. What's with that anyway?

He was correct though, that is what was in the bowl as I was getting ready to prepare this Lentils with Chicken Sausage dish for our dinner tonight. While you could take your time and finely chop the vegetables that go into the pot, as the lentils were swimming in the broth waiting for it to boil, I added the carrots, celery, onion and a couple cloves of garlic into the food processor and let it do the work. You're not looking for a paste here, so use the pulse button to break them down. To bring them to life before plunking them in with the lentils, we softened them in a skillet with a drizzle of oil and a few sprigs of fresh thyme snipped from our herb bed on the deck.

By the time the veggies were ready, the lentils were just shy of coming up to a boiling, which was a good point to stir them into the mix. Because you want the lentils to retain their shape and have a firmer texture in this dish, they won't take too long to cook through. However, this isn't idle time as there was a bit more work to do!

To bulk up the dish with a meaty edge, we started browning links of chicken sausage (the pre-cooked kind... we chose a spicy variety!), along with wedges of onion. As the onions cook, the wedges gradually soften and slightly caramelize, leaving you with sweet petals that end up being threaded throughout each serving. Punching this combo up with a tangy burst, dark balsamic vinegar was drizzled in the skillet, coating the sausages and onion in a glaze as it quickly thickened from the heat. To allow for easier eating and a nicer presentation, the sausages were then thickly sliced on the diagonal before being added back in.

Now that the lentils were ready, I noticed there was quite a bit of liquid left behind - I wasn't really expecting that, though I guess I should have given the proportion of broth to lentil. This is mainly because in one of the pictures I saw of this recipe prepared, it didn't seem to be a soupy dish. Jeff asked if we should just drain it away, but I figured why bother because it was rich and full of flavor now! Before I added the sausages and onion in with the lentils to finish this off to serve, we did toss in a handful of tender baby spinach for a bit of freshness.

While we (yes, Jeff indeed gave this a thumbs up, even with those "evil" lentils!) thought this earthy dish was definitely tasty, because of its heartier nature, I bet this would be even better served on a cold winters night as a way to warm oneself from the inside out!


  1. Love lentils, they're one of my vegetarian staples. Did Jeff really say darn???

  2. Quinn - He did, actually. Which is surprising if you are around him for very long!