Sausage and Lentil Cassoulet
Last week, my friend Morag and I had ourselves a mini-dinner party fully stocked with wine, warming and hearty food and great discussions, from gin, to boyfriends, to world history. They’re the kind of evenings that you learn to cook for – the opportunity to share a savory meal and a few glasses (or bottles) of wine and leave pleasantly full of food and good feelings.
We decided to cook a rustic (and easier than it looks) dinner with hearty, healthy lentils, garlicky sausage and a lovely smell that follow you around the house. Give me rustic, hearty food any day (especially on a cold one). “Peasant” food is probably some of the best – it’s creative, traditionally cheap and so flavorful.
The recipe below is based on one I found on French Revolution Food, one of my favorite blogs for easy to tackle French food. We may have taken some liberties with the amount of wine, herbs and… well, every ingredient, but we ended up with a happy and well-fed table of people, so it works, even with a bit of creativity.
We had it with a simple green salad with a balsamic and olive oil dressing and some Irish brown rolls, to soak up all the lovely broth.
On the Counter
9 banana (or eschalion) shallots
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 Toulouse (or garlicky, or spicy Italian) sausages
3/4 cup (187 ml) dry white wine
800g pre-cooked Puy lentils, drained and rinsed (if from a can)
1/2 cup (60 ml) water
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
handful fresh parsley, chopped
What to Do
Preheat oven to 450 F (35oC). Slice shallots longways into about 6 strips per shallot.
Heat the oil in an oven and stove-safe pot/casserole dish over medium heat until the oil shimmers, about 3-4 minutes.
Add the sliced shallots and sausages, season with salt and pepper. Stir to coat, and transfer to a baking-safe casserole dish (if necessary.) Bake until the shallots are soft and caramelized and the sausages are browned, about half an hour. Stir occasionally.
Remove the dish from oven and transfer it back to the original pot, or place on the stove, on high heat.
Add the wine, bring to a boil. Deglaze the pan with a wooden spoon and add lentils, water, herbes de Provence. Season with a bit more salt and pepper. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the liquid is mostly gone.
Serve, topped with fresh parsley.
PS: If there’s any funky editing in here, blame photos-taken-while-drinking and the low light.