Friday, January 13, 2012

Lentils with Fennel and Sausage...and the love of my life

I'm back!! At least for long enough to write this post. I know that it's been months (six to be exact) since I last posted here and for that I apologize. However, I believe my excuse is pretty valid. Three months ago I gave birth to an amazing little girl, Lyra Amber. She has completely changed my life in incredible ways, some difficult of course but all worth it. So I have been spending my time getting to know her and tending to her needs instead of creating new recipes. I have managed to cook some good meals, despite the difficulties of the cranky dinner hour, but nothing particularly new or of note. Except for this latest dish. I decided I was ready to try something new and hopefully get a chance to write about it. As many things in my life, this post will probably take longer to write than I want it to. I tend to get a few things done while Lyra is sleeping or happily playing on her jungle mat (see below) and then have to go feed/change/comfort her before I can finish. But I will attempt to get this done!
The best and easiest meals for me recently have been the kind that I can eat without needing to use a knife and preferably all in one bowl. This allows me to hold Lyra if necessary and still eat my dinner. This meal fits that bill perfectly and also happens to be very tasty. I've written about lentils before as they are both incredibly healthy and quite delicious. And they take to many different flavor combinations very well. This dish combines the sweet flavors of fennel with the savory and salty flavors of sausage. I used chicken sausage for its slight health benefits but pork would also be delicious. You could also increase the amount of fennel and possibly add in some wilted spinach for a vegetarian version of this dish. I might try that next time. Either way, this is definitely a dish to try - satisfying enough for a cool winter evening without weighing you down.
Lentils with Fennel and Sausage

  • 1 cup lentils (I used French green lentils)
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lbs or so of sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 medium to large fennel, bulb sliced and stalks discarded, reserving green fronds
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
In a medium sauce pan, bring lentils, water and 1/2 tsp of salt to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for about 20-25 minutes until lentils are tender but not falling apart. Drain lentils, reserving the cooking liquid.
While lentils cook, heat a large skillet with 1/2 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat.
Sear sausages until well browned on each side, about 10 minutes total.
Remove sausages and cut diagonally into slices.
Turn the heat down to medium, medium low and add remaining 1/2 tbsp oil.
Add onion, sliced fennel, garlic and fennel seeds, seasoning with remaining 1/2 tsp of salt and about 1/4 tsp black pepper.
Ladle about 1/3 cup of lentil cooking liquid into pan to help release the brown bits from the sausages.
Saute vegetables until very tender, about 15 minutes, adding more lentil cooking liquid as the pan gets dry.
Once the vegetables are tender, add the sliced sausages to finish cooking, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the cooked lentils, red wine vinegar and about 1 tbsp chopped fennel fronds.
Season with a pinch more black pepper and salt, if needed.
Garnish with more chopped fennel fronds.

For a printable recipe click here

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  1. Yay!! Welcome back! This recipe looks delicious.

  2. This is like all of my favorite ingredients in one delicious forkful. It looked so good I had to try it immediately: The red wine vinegar at the end is kind of genius.

    More recipes please!!!

  3. Congrats! And welcome back!

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