|This classic dish of Sausage and Lentils with Fried Sage is a meal I'd always find comforting!|
(Updated with better photos and added to Recipe Favorites, October 2011) I first made this comforting dish of Sausage and Lentils with Fried Sage back in 2006. That recipe definitely needed an update, so recently Jake and I made it again to take new photos and we also enjoyed eating it! The recipe was inspired by one in The Silver Spoon, a classic Italian cookbook that I think every serious cook should own. The addition of fried sage was my idea after seeing it on restaurant menus, and the fried sage was a wonderful addition to this dish. Sage is something I have growing abundantly for most of the year, and when you fry it the sage flavor intensifies just a bit as the leaves are transformed into crispy morsels of sage-flavored goodness. But if you like Italian Sausage and Lentils but don't have fresh sage, this dish would still be very good without the sage.
Then let sausages cool enough to handle, slice them, and brown again so the cut sides are also nicely browned. Don't rush the browning, because that creates flavor.
Here is where the photo-taking got sidetracked when we got busy and forgot to take a photo of the cooked lentils and sausages mixed together in the pan with half the fried sage. You'll have to use your imagination for that. Serve the dish with some fried sage sprinkled on top.
And just to remind you why we're working so hard to update some of my earliest photos, here's the original photo from this recipe taken back in early 2006!
Sausage and Lentils with Fried Sage
(Makes 6 or more servings; recipe adapted from The Silver Spoon.)
1 package hot turkey Italian Sausage (5 links - 19.5 oz.)
2 cups dried lentils
1 piece celery, cut in 3 inch pieces
1 whole carrot, cut in 3 inch pieces
1 small onion, cut in half
generous T chicken flavor base (optional, I use Better Than Bouillon Organic Low Sodium Chicken Base)
1 T + 2 T olive oil (or more, depending on your pan)
20-30 fresh sage leaves
3-4 large garlic cloves
Put lentils, celery, carrot, onion, and chicken flavor base (if using) in large pot, cover with water and start to simmer. Let lentils cook until they are quite tender. Cooking time will depend on how fresh the lentils are, but probably about 45 minutes.
While lentils are cooking, brown sausage well in 1 T olive oil in large frying pan. Let sausages cool enough to handle, and cut in diagonal slices about 1 inch thick. Put back in pan and brown cut sides of sausage very well. Don't rush the browning step, it may take as long as 20 minutes.
When lentils are tender, drain well and remove carrot, celery and onion and discard. Put 2 T olive oil in frying pan that sausages were browned in, add garlic and saute until barely starting to color (don't let it get very brown or it will be bitter). Remove garlic and discard. Add sage leaves to hot oil and cook just until crisp, not more than a minute or two. Remove sage and chop with knife.
Add cooked lentils and sausages with half the sage back to pan, and saute 3-5 minutes in seasoned olive oil. Remove to serving platter, sprinkle over rest of fried sage and serve hot.
South Beach Suggestions:
It's important to use lower-fat turkey Italian sausage if you're making this for the South Beach Diet. Legumes like lentils are allowed for any phase of the diet, but portion size is limited to 1/3 to 1/2 cup for phase one. Of course with a dish that has other ingredients you can have a slightly larger serving, but I'd eat a small portion of this with something like Ottolenghi's Perfect Lettuce Salad on the side for phase one.
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.
More Tasty Ideas with Lentils:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly, check ingredients.)
Spiced Indian Lentils from Kalyn's Kitchen
Mujadarra (Middle Eastern Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions) from Kalyn's Kitchen
Lentils with Spinach and Preserved Lemon from The Perfect Pantry
Spanish Lentils and Mushrooms from Herbivoracious
Pork and Lentil Soup from la Fuji Mama
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)
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