Last week, despite this intense heat wave the East Bay is currently experiencing, I was craving a big steamy bowl of lentils and sausages. I love this meal no matter the season because even though the ingredient list is lengthy, the process is extremely simple and the end result is incredibly flavorful and delicious — something my whole family loves. This is a comfort meal, through and through, and will make your kitchen smell AMAZING. This is definitely one of my top ten favorite dinners and it’s perfect for a casual weeknight meal or a fun gathering with friends. Everyone always loves lentils and sausages – they are a match made in heaven. 🙂
I “summer-ed up” this recipe by adding one of my favorite veggies, fennel, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh herbs. This meal reminds of the summer I lived in Paris because it’s just so quintessentially French. Lentils and sausage were pretty much on the menu of every little bistro I went to, and it was always washed down with hearty red wine.
Few things make me happier than a big pile of chopped veggies cooking on the stove. I find it so therapeutic to chop onions, carrots and fennel and the smell is just heavenly.
I buy my sausages from our local butcher and suggest you do the same! I love fennel sausage here because it complements the actual fennel in the dish, but, really, whatever you can find will work just fine. Just make sure the sausage is fresh and raw.
We like to enjoy this meal with lots of extra balsamic vinegar for drizzling and dijon mustard for smearing on the sausage. Leftovers reheat amazingly well and are good frozen for up to six months.
I hope you all love this one pot meal as much as we do. It’s so homey and comforting…one of my very favorites!
- 1.5 lbs French green lentils, picked over and rinsed
- 1 large red onion chopped
- 1 whole fennel chopped
- 2 large carrots peeled and chopped
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 cloves garlic smashed with a knife
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 2 tbsp chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil
- 6 whole fennel sausages roughly 2 lbs
- 8 cups water
- 1 cup wine white or red is fine
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar plus more for serving
- 2.5 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
- dijon mustard for serving
In a large, heavy dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the chopped onion, carrot and fennel. Place the sprigs of thyme on top of the chopped veggies and place lid on pot. Reduce heat to low and cook the vegetables for 20 minutes, or until tender, lifting the lid of the pot occasionally and letting the water drop into the pot while you stir.
When the veggies are tender, remove the lid and add the garlic, bay leaf and sun-dried tomatoes. Saute for 1 minute.
Bury the sausages in the veggies. Add the lentils and stir well. Add the wine and cook until the wine has almost totally evaporated - about 5 minutes on medium/high heat.
Pour in the water, add the salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover the pot again and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 1 hour or until sausages are cooked through and lentils are tender.
Stir in the balsamic vinegar and serve, letting each person add additional vinegar to their plate, as well as mustard.
This freezes really well (and makes a lot of lentils!) so I like to freeze the leftovers in individual containers for rainy days.