Every week, well, almost every week, I like to make a soup or a stew so Adam and I can have an easy and inexpensive lunch to get us through the workweek. I call it our one-pot meal. I started doing this a couple of years ago to help us save money, and to (secretly) avert Adam’s seemingly uncontrollable urge to eat at Pizzicato every day. Which he will do.
With ease in mind, the first year involved the crock-pot. Beans, rice, some veggies, a little ground meat of some sort. At first it was fine, then, after several months of this, our lovely little stew became a boring bowl of slow-cooker slop.
The crock-pot, although a wonderful tool, if you don’t know how to work it, like I clearly didn’t, will cause all of the flavors to clump together into a beany, ricey, filling, but not so tasty, and yes boring bowl of slop.
So, I put the crock away and started making basically the same stew on the stove. And, goodness, was it much better. All the flavors held their own, the veggies stayed crisp, the beans stayed firm. But, of course, it quickly became boring again because, well, I was stuck in a stew rut. I was in this little box of beans, rice, veggies and meat and I couldn’t find my way out. Inspiration eluded me and I started to get desperate. Why can’t I come up with something new? So frustrating for someone who LOVES to cook. Needless to say, we haven’t had stew for weeks. Maybe longer.
Fortunately, many of my blog post meals have provided us with enough leftovers to get us through a few days of lunch, but I need more than that. I need inspiration. And then it occurred to me, you are my inspiration. If I’m making something for my wonderful readers, then my creative food muse will surely nod her beautiful head and all sorts of wonderful things will happen.
Thus it begins; today’s post is the first of a possible series of one-pot meals.
French lentils, leeks, sausage, and smoky bits of bacon, delicious and perfect for these cold Portland days.
I can’t guarantee you’ll see one of these posts every week, but, well, we’ll let my muse decide that.
Adapted from Saveur.com
What you’ll need~
1/2 cup wild rice
1/8-1/4 lb smoked bacon, sliced crosswise
2 small, or one large leek, thinly sliced
1-2 cloves shallots, thinly sliced
1-2 small carrots, cut into small chunks
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
16 oz French green lentils
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Splash of red wine vinegar
1/2 cup or so diced tomatoes (I used Pomi Italian tomatoes in an aseptic box)
Salt and pepper to taste
3-4 fresh lamb sausages
1 cup dry sherry, or white wine (I had sherry on hand)
Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil, stir in 1/2 cup uncooked wild rice. Reduce heat and simmer covered 40-45 minutes or just until kernels puff open. Remove from heat and fluff rice with a fork.
In the meantime, cook bacon in a large saucepan for about 5 minutes. Add one tablespoon of olive oil, shallots, leeks, and carrots and cook until soft. About 10 minutes.
Add fresh herbs (you can tie them with a kitchen string to make them easier to retrieve) and stir in lentils with 5 1/2 cups of water. Simmer until the lentils are tender. About an hour.
Discard herbs and stir in mustard, vinegar, tomatoes and salt and pepper. Cover and set aside.
Add 1 cup of water, sherry and sausages and bring to boil in a 12” skillet over high heat. Cook turning the sausages occasionally until the liquid has evaporated. About 10 or so minutes.
Reduce heat to medium add remaining olive oil and continue to cook the sausages until they beautifully browned. About another five minutes or so.
Stir in cooked wild rice.
Slice the sausages and serve over warm lentils. Pair with a crisp Riesling.