Fall Foods: Part I
I realize the title of this post is probably a bit premature since it hinges on writing multiple “Fall Foods” posts, but I’m fairly confident that I’ll be cooking or at least will make a full effort to prepare at least one recipe this fall that uses in-season fruits or vegetables. Enter: this creamy lentil, merguez sausage, and sauteed pears dish from the weekly Food & Wine e-mail. It’s an absolute stunner. Country French lentils, earthy lamb sausage, sweet freshly picked pears (this is no joke, I’m going apple picking this weekend and will be sure to gather a few pears if they’re available) paired with a rich glass of red, red wine….good grief, I think I’m hungry. See after the jump for the lamb sausage and lentil recipe. Also see below for the vegetarian recipe featured in the picture: lentils with bulgar and onions from Gourmet. Happy Fall.
Lamb Sausage with Lentils and Sautéed Pears
- 2 cups brown lentils (14 ounces)
- 4 cups boiling water
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 celery rib, diced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 cup roasted red peppers (8 ounces), preferably piquillo, cut into thin strips
- 1 1/4 pounds merguez sausage
- 2 ripe Bartlett pears, cored and cut into eighths
- In a large heatproof bowl, cover the lentils with the boiling water and let stand for 30 minutes. Drain.
- In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the diced carrots, onion and celery and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the lentils and 1 1/2 cups of water and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over low heat until the lentils are just tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup of the olive oil, the cider vinegar and the roasted red peppers and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the lentil mixture to a serving platter.
- In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the merguez sausage and cook over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Arrange the sausages around the lentils and pour over any accumulated juices.
- Return the skillet to high heat. Add the pears and cook, turning once, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer to the platter and serve right away.
Bulgur and leftover lentils (from Lentil Soup with Italian Sausage and Escarole) combine to make a nutty, satisfying side dish (or a vegetarian main course). But it’s the slow-cooked, sweetly golden onions that add an incomparable depth of flavor and make this humble dish really shine. Consider serving this with lamb chops or roast chicken and an easy green salad.
- 3 medium onions, chopped
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup lentils (5 oz), rinsed and picked over
- 3 1/3 cups water
- 1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup bulgur (5 oz)
plain yogurt (optional)
Cook onions in oil with 1/4 tsp salt in a 3-qt heavy saucepan over medium heat, covered, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring frequently, until deep golden brown, about 20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, set aside about a third of onions for garnish.Add lentils to onions remaining in pan with water, a rounded 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook over low heat 20 minutes. Stir in bulgur and cook, covered, until lentils and bulgur are tender and water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Serve topped with reserved onions and yogurt if using.