We grew up eating lentil and sausage stew of all varieties: sometimes with crumbled pork sausage, sometimes kielbasa, but recently lamb. Lamb sausage really brings out the lentils in this dish. If it's available, go for the splurge.
While most stews appear at our family dinner in winter, this one makes an appearance at summer lunches with crushed herbs and cool crumbled feta cheese.
Lentil and Lamb Sausage Stew
1 lb. lentils (du Puy is best)
1/3 to 1/2 pound of sausage links, preferably lamb
2 celery stalks
1 yellow onion
2 bay leaves
1 cup dry or medium sherry
1 t salt
2 cups water
4 oz crumbled feta, to garnish
1/2 bunch cilantro, to garnish
1. Prepare the vegetables: Peel the onion and chop into 1/2 inch cubes. Peel the carrot and follow suit. Cube the tomato in 1/2 inch cubes, discarding where the stem attached. Cut the celery into 1/4 inch slices.
2. In a rondeau or deep saucepan, saute the sausage links until just brown. Remove, and reserve the fat.
3. Chop the sausage into 1/2 inch chunks, roughly. Set aside.
4. Saute the veggies in the fat. When the veggies are al dente, add the sausage, bay leaves, salt, and sherry. Bring to a rapid boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 5 minutes.
5. Remove all to a bowl to hold until serving, except the bay leaves.
6. Add 2 cups of water and the pound of lentils to the saucepan with the bay leaves. Bring the lentils to a boil, reduce the heat, and cook for forty five minutes on low.
7. Stir in the vegetables and meat, and turn the heat off. Allow the stew to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
8. Garnish the stew with feta and cilantro.