I’ve been making a conscientious effort to reduce the amount of red meat my family eats, and I love this recipe that uses just a bit of chorizo and a whisper of bacto on lend enormous flavor the dish. The rest of the flavor comes from the vegetables and wine which marry beautifully with the earthy flavors of the lentils.
It’s been a family favorite for years, and even as small children my kids loved it. Definitely not a pretty dish, it’s not only homey, it’s a little homely, as well. One taste, though, and you’ll forgive what it lacks in the looks department. The recipe is adapted from the Michelin Star restaurant Pied a Terre in London.
While I’m sure this was meant as a main dish by itself, or even a side, I love to serve it over mashed potatoes or polenta as a kind of lentil stew. I believe the pairing originally was a happy accident – I often try to entice kids into eating something new by serving it with something they already love.
If Chorizo is costly or unavailable in your area, make your own! It’s easy with a food processor, fancy blender or grinder.
Because of the abundance of vegetables in the lentils, I generally don’t serve another side, but if you’d like some color on the plate some simply cooked Brussels Sprouts would be a good complement.
Lentils with Sausage & Carrots
- 12 whole pearl onions (may use frozen – about 2/3rds cup)
- 4 ounces of bulk chorizo (fresh, not cured)
- 4 slices bacon, diced 1/2 inch
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 6 to 8 ounces of mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup carrots, finely chopped (about 3 medium)
- 1 1/2 cups onion, finely chopped (about 2 medium)
- 1 cup celery, finely chopped (about 2 stalks)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 2 1/2 cups chicken stock or water (plus more if needed)
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme, left whole
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup lentils (green or brown)
- 8 baby carrots, or 4 large carrots, cut into 3 to 4 inch sections (cut the wide sections in half lengthwise – the baby carrots referred to here are actual baby carrots, not the strange prebagged ones in the store)
- Salt and pepper to taste
If using fresh pearl onions, simmer five minutes in a small saucepan, drain, and peel. Set aside.
In a Dutch oven, break up chorizo and saute until cooked through. Remove to a plate. Add bacon and saute until nearly crisp. Remove to a plate with chorizo, and drain and discard any grease in pan.
Add a tablespoon of olive oil to pan, and saute mushrooms until tender and well browned. (Add more olive oil if needed.) Add to chorizo and bacon.
Add remaining olive oil to pan and add the diced carrots, onions and celery, saute five to eight minutes until softened. Add garlic and cook through for a minute or so. Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute or so. Add wine and stir, bring to a simmer and reduce to about 1/2 the volume.
Add the bay leaf and thyme and chicken stock, and cook, covered, leaving the lid slightly ajar. Simmer gently for about 45 minutes until the lentils are soft and liquid is nearly gone. Carefully stir now and then.
After about 30 minutes, add the mushrooms and chorizo and bacon. (reserve some of the bacon as a garnish if desired.) Check to make certain there is enough liquid, and simmer another ten to fifteen minutes until lentils are soft. There should be just a bit of the cooking liquid left in the pan.
At this point, pan steam the baby carrots to desired tenderness, drain and add a bit of butter to the carrots.
Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if desired.
Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:
- Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
- Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
- Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
- Read Strategies for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.
Nutrition for Lentils:
Cal 285; cal from fat 34%; tot fat 12g; sat fat 3g; chol 19mg; sod 423mg; pot 475mg; tot carb 14g; fib 4g; sug 4g; prot 10g
Put Your own Spin on It:
- None of the vegetables need to be exact in this recipe, either in quantity or type – you could also vary the sausage – plain old breakfast sausage is great, as is Italian sausage.
- You may want to vary the herbs if you change out the sausage – adding in something Italian if you use the Italian sausage, and maybe a little sage or poultry seasoning if using breakfast sausage.
- If you wanted a completely different flavor, try a white wine with an herb like tarragon.
Lentils with Chorizo & Carrots over mashed potatoes – made for about $5.50.