It started out warm today, but the temperature was dropping all day long. I knew comfort food would be appreciated at dinner - after all, before dinner I had to fit in a trip to Malvern to take in the Christmas tree lighting ceremony. While the tree is beautiful, and the crowds more than hospitable, the weather was awful! Yes, a comforting dish of Braised Lentils with Lamb and Garlic Sausage would be quite welcome.
This dish is so easy to pull together. I cooked 1 1/2 cups of French lentils in water, it takes about 20 minutes. To the cooking water, I added 2 bay leaves and 2 sprigs of fresh oregano. While the lentils were cooking I prepped the veggies: 1/2 cup of diced onions, one minced clove of garlic, 3 sliced carrots, 3 ribs of sliced celery, about 1 cup of cubed butternut squash, and a bunch of beet greens, chopped. The beet greens - it was a case of waste not, want not - I used the beets in another recipe, but couldn't dream of discarding the greens - they were a perfect addition to the dish. You could omit, or substitute with kale.
Once the veggies are prepped, heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the onion and garlic first, cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining veggies and saute about 5 minutes. Drain any excess cooking water from the lentils, and then add the cooked lentils to the veggies. Season with salt and pepper. Add about 1/4 - 1/2 cup of chicken stock and keep warm over low heat while you prep the sausage.
To prep the sausage, (#1) brown in a skillet. While the first side is browning, (#2) use a small pairing knife to make small holes in the sausage casing allowing the juices to drain. Once the sausage is (#3) browned on one side, flip to brown on the other side. Add about 1/2 cup of white wine (#4), and continue to cook over medium-low heat, covered, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage and wine to the lentils (#5), nestling the sausage into the veggies. Cover the saute pan and allow to cook about 15 minutes (#6). Adjust the seasoning and enjoy, (#7)! We served up the dish with some delicious kalamata olive bread from Saint Pete's Bakery, and a glass of wine.