Friday, December 13, 2013

Lentils with Fennel & Carrots

When I was a kid growing up with vegetarian hippies for parents, we ate a lot of lentils and rice. I love lentils and consider them excellent and delicious comfort food. Jeannene, on the other hand, is invariably resistant to lentils when I mention making them. This time, I could scarcely believe my ears when she said they were good! They were very good, indeed. I served them with fantastic locally produced kielbasa, creamy polenta, and a kale salad. This is my adaptation of a 2007 recipe from the late, lamented Gourmet magazine.

Lentils with Sausage, Fennel, & Carrots

1 c. French green lentils (you may sub another variety)
4 & 1/2 c. cold water
1 & 1/2 tsp. salt
1 fennel bulb (about 3/4 lb), finely chopped, fronds minced
3 & 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, diced
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
1 lb. kielbasa (you can also use sweet Italian sausage, which is what the original recipe calls for)
3 tbsp. chopped Italian parsley
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar (red wine vinegar may be subbed)
Olive oil for drizzling

Bring lentils & water to a boil with 1/2 tsp. salt. Simmer, uncovered, 12-25 minutes, until tender. Heat oil. Add onion, carrot, fennel bulb & seeds, 1 tsp. salt. Cover & cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook sausages through. Drain lentils, reserving water (mine ended up not needing to be drained, with just enough cooking water left). Stir into vegetables with just enough water to moisten. Heat through. Add parsley, pepper, vinegar, 1 tbsp. minced fennel fronds. Adjust vinegar & salt to taste. Slice sausages diagonally and serve over lentils, sprinkled with additional minced fennel fronds. Drizzle with oil. Serves 4.

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