Whenever we go to France, I stock up on Puy lentils. Lentilles vertes du Puy are small, dark green lentils that hold their shape and don’t fall apart when cooking. Therefore, they are especially good in casseroles. I can’t imagine a winter without them.
Last night, in need of comfort food yet again (sorry ‘beach body’, whatever that may be), I made a filling lentil casserole with bacon and smoked Dutch sausage (rookworst). You can serve it as I did, with a lemony Belgian endive salad (recipe here tomorrow!). A plain, crisp green salad will work fine too.
Here’s the recipe:
Warming Lentil Casserole with Smoked Sausage
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 200g smoked bacon, cut into strips
- 2 carrots, finely diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 sprig of rosemary, needles finely chopped
- 300g puy lentils, rinsed and checked for stones
- 750ml water
- 1 smoked Dutch sausage, or other smoked sausage such as kielbasa
- fleur de sel & freshly cracked pepper
- Dijon mustard, to serve
Heat the olive in a heavy bottomed casserole and brown the bacon. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain most of the fat, leaving about 1 teaspoon behind. Lower the heat, add the carrots, garlic, onion and rosemary and cook for about 5 minutes. Increase the heat and add the lentils and water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat, cover and cook for 35-40 minutes. Check after 20 minutes to see if you need to add a bit more water. At this time, you can season the lentils with salt and pepper. Heat the Dutch sausage in boiling water for 10 minutes, or according to package directions. When ready to serve, stir the bacon through the lentils. Chop the sausage into pieces and place on top of the lentils. A jar of Dijon mustard is not an option but a must! Delicious with my lemony Belgian endive salad — come back tomorrow for the recipe!
Last Saturday at the Hilversum market, hubby and I were tempted by the Souvenirs de France stand where they were roasting thick, beautiful sausages. When we asked what they were, the answer was ‘saucisson à l’ail’, a thick, smoked sausage somewhat similar to the Dutch ‘rookworst‘, though coarser in texture and generously flavored with garlic. We were assured, however, that the garlic would not be overpowering and that the smokiness would have the leading role. The sausage can be cooked and served in a multitude of ways: grilled, boiled, sliced and eaten cold as part of an apéro, or used in many dishes.
We had one sliced with a little mustard on Sunday night and it was absolutely delightful.
Yesterday I decided to use the second one in a warming lentil soup, and it was so, SO good! My daughter commented that the soup was somewhat similar to one of her favorite soups, the Dutch pea soup (erwtensoep). Though I am not quite sure I agree, what I can tell you is that I will be making this soup many times in these cold months ahead.
Here’s the recipe!
Oh, and feel free to substitute any other smoked sausage. But, if you’re in Hilversum, you may want to stop by the Souvenirs de France stand for more than just sausage. Beware though — you may leave with more than you intended! PS: Nope. Not sponsored. My opinion is never for sale. 🙂
Lentil soup with saucisson à l’ail
- 2 tbsps mild olive oil
- 2 spring onions, sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 1 1/2 tsps herbes de Provence
- 250g brown lentils, rinsed
- 1,2L strong, hot beef stock
- 1 smoked sausage, sliced
- 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped
Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pan and gently sauté the onions and garlic for 6 minutes. Add in the carrots and herbes de Provence and cook for another 6 minutes. Stir in the lentils. Pour in the hot beef stock, bring to a boil and immediately reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Add in the sliced sausage and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Take the pan off the heat, stir in the chopped parsley and serve.
Lentils are not on everyone’s list of food favorites. Some people refuse to eat lentils and associate them with those dated health staples of the macrobiotic age; brown rice being another one. Others, however, (me included) absolutely adore their nutty taste and versatility.
If I told you I served a delicious brown rice salad yesterday, you might give me a rather puzzled look. Perhaps even a look of disbelief. A ‘delicious’ brown rice salad? How can anything with brown rice be delicious? And you know what? I probably wouldn’t blame you.
To be honest, I am also not the biggest fan of brown rice. It can be heavy and taste bland. Too much of a health food and not something I would serve when cooking a special meal. But brown rice can be perfectly palatable if prepared and seasoned well. Like in the salad I am about to share with you.