Lentil & Sausage Stew with a Fresh Loaf

French Lentil soup 2Charlie Brown: What a way to start a new year. Tomorrow night, millions of people will be going to parties and dressing up. Some are even ready a day ahead of time.
Charlie Brown: Keep the ball low, don’t leave your crayons in the sun, use dental floss every day, don’t spill the shoe polish, always knock before entering, don’t let the ants get in the sugar, never volunteer to be a program chairman, always get your first serve in, and feed your dog whenever he’s hungry.
Linus van Pelt: Happy New Year, Charlie Brown.
Patricia “Peppermint Patty” Reichardt: Have you made any New Years resolutions, Chuck?
Charlie Brown: Yes. You know how I always dread the whole year? Well, this time I’m only going to dread one day at a time.

A budget friendly warming bowl of French lentil soup, a fresh loaf of bread and a simple salad for a cooler fall-ish night.   In Italy a spicy New Year’s bowl of lentils paired with cotechino sausage is  good dish to ring  the New Year and like many global traditions, represents good luck…Yes it is still December!  I like to use the dark green French lentils that don’t break down easily and turn to mush while Michael doesn’t care for the chewiness so I cook the beans little more, but not to completely break down the beans.  You can leave out the sausage or use a vegan sausage and  substitute vegetable broth.

LENTIL AND SAUSAGE STEW Serves 6

* 1+1/2 pounds hot Italian sausages removed from casings and browned or sliced into 1 inch pieces and browned
*2 teaspoons olive oil
*1+1/2 pound dried French lentils
* 3 large cloves roasted garlic, peeled smashed
* 1 large onion (6 ounces), finely diced
* 2 carrots, peeled and diced
*2 fresh small bay leaves*
*1 teaspoon Italian sausage seasoning
* 1/2 cup dry white wine
* 6 +cups of chicken broth

Cut the sausages into 1 inch pieces or remove from casings, sauté in olive oil until lightly browned.  Add the celery, onions, carrots, and garlic sautéing a bit and splash in the white wine.  Add the rest of the seasonings and about 3 cups of the broth, simmer for 30-40 minutes, taste for doneness and add more broth.  Simmer for another 15 minutes and test again for doneness.  Add more broth if you like, serve piping hot with a dollop of Crème fraîche or a splash of vinegar.

Serve with crusty French bread and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese for the stew.
Fresh Bread

Toasted walnmnut dressingI really like the packaged Artisan brand lettuces and the 4 small head package offers a nice assortment to add to a simple side salad.

Roasted walnut oil dressing for green salad with cucumbers & Roquefort cheese…Mix in a dressing bottle, measuring cup or canning jar

2 tablespoons Modena white vinegar or champagne vinegar add, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, season to taste with salt and pepper, whisk in 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons Roasted Walnut Oil. taste and adjust if necessary…