Stay with me here – I realize the photo is not going to sell you on this one. It is the result of artificial light, a camera about to die, and lamb sausages braised in red wine until they resembled, well, I don’t want to disgust you further. I had read a traditional recipe for Saucisses aux Lentilles du Puy (Sausages with French Green Lentils) in my winter issue of Saveur, and thought it might translate well to lamb sausage and red wine. Aesthetics aside, it was quite delicious. Next time I might add garlic to the pot, or simmer the lentils in stock in place of the water. Or lacking wine (which, to be honest, I couldn’t much taste), brown the sausages and then tuck them into the simmering lentils to finish cooking.
Wine-Braised Lamb Sausages with Lentils
2-4 slices bacon, chopped
1 Tbsp. butter or oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
12 oz. dry green, green Puy or brown lentils (about 2 1/2 cups)
2 bay leaves
a few sprigs of fresh thyme (or a bit of crumbled dried thyme)
4-8 sausages – I used lamb, but try Italian or any other kind you like
canola or olive oil
1 cup red or white wine
In a large saucepan or skillet, cook the bacon until it renders most of its fat; add the butter, onion, celery and carrot and cook for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Add the lentils, bay leaves, thyme and 5 1/2 cups of water; bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for about an hour.
After an hour, heat another skillet and brown the sausages in a drizzle of oil; add the wine and a cup of water, cover and cook for 10 minutes, flipping once or twice. Tuck the sausages down into the lentils and cook for a few more minutes, drizzling any wine left in the pan over the lentils. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot. Serves 4-8.
For Christmas gift-giving purposes within my family this year the grown-ups drew names to buy for the kids (7 of each) and we agreed to only give homemade gifts between families. Not surprisingly, everything that exchanged hands was edible. (Save for my sister’s ingenious idea to have her kids read stories on CD for the littler ones.)
My youngest sister (both their names begin with A, so I’ll forgo that descriptive) makes fantastic chocolate chip cookies, of the thin, chewy, buttery sort. Her gift bag included a Ziploc baggie of frozen dough scoops (she also has one of those wee ice cream scoops that make perfect cookies) that we could just place on a cookie sheet and put in the oven to bake right from frozen. I baked a dozen, since I have friends coming by tomorrow. Deep down I knew there would be none left. I’d like to say Mike ate most of them; he didn’t.
Lexi’s Favorite Chocolate-Chip Cookies
From Martha Stewart Living
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups packed light-brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugars, and beat until combined and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until well blended.
Add flour mixture, and beat on low speed until combined. Add the chocolate chips, and mix until combined.
Drop 2 to 3 tablespoons of batter at a time onto baking sheets, about 2 to 3 inches apart. I usually fit 6 cookies per sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 8 minutes, rotating halfway through. Remove the cookies and the parchment paper from the baking sheets, and let cool on a rack. Makes thirty 4-inch cookies.
From A: *I usually make extra dough and freeze balls of it on a cookie sheet, then transfer them to a zipoc baggie. I cook them from frozen for a few extra minutes, or eat the dough as-is…