Gourmandistan’s old Kentucky home is once again undergoing the Commonwealth’s standard version of Winter, where “the sun shines bright” line in the official state song seems only a bitter, damp and cloudy joke. Looking to brighten things up a bit while avoiding all the heavy work we did while preparing for Thanksgiving, Michelle updated this Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall lentil dish with a dash of dried apricots. We really enjoyed the way the apricots’ tartness added to the savory lentils and sweet prunes, all of which enhanced some excellent sausages from our new favorite butcher.
Fearnley-Whittingstall recommended a baked potato and some greens along with his version, but our Thanksgiving-tired selves settled for a side of mashed Kennebecs, which we thought helped knit everything together. There’s a long way from now until Spring, but if we can keep getting our hands on sausage, apricots, prunes and lentils, things might not be so bad.
LENTILS WITH SAUSAGES, PRUNES AND APRICOTS
(adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in The Guardian)
- 1 TB+ olive oil
- 1 large onion, peeled and diced
- Kosher salt
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 stem celery, diced
- 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 pork sausages (7″ or so), sliced in half crosswise and casings pricked with a fork
- 1 c. chicken stock
- 1/2 c. French lentils (preferably Le Puy)
- 1/3 c. pitted prunes, halved
- 1/3 c. dried apricots (preferably from California), halved
- Freshly ground pepper
Heat the oven to 300° F.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a small Dutch oven. Add the onions, season with salt and cook for 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until softened and starting to color. Add the carrots, celery, garlic, bay and thyme. Cover and sweat over low heat for 10 minutes more. Remove from heat. Add lentils and stir.
Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan and brown the sausages on all sides, but don’t cook thoroughly. Add sausages to the casserole. Deglaze the frying pan with a little stock, then pour into the casserole.
Add the prunes, apricots and remaining stock to the casserole. Bring to a simmer, cover and place in oven.
Check after about 45 minutes. Stir and add more stock, if needed. Cook until lentils are done, about 1 hour total. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with mashed potatoes and some Colman’s mustard.