Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Recipe: Red Lentils & Sausage Stew

While many folks spent their New Year's Eve in a jubilant blow out at a houseparty/club/restaurant, mine was a much more low-key and humble affair. Partly because I'm exhausted from the assorted holiday gatherings throughout the better part of December, but mostly because I'm working early hours on both the Eve and New Year's Day, so I was more than happy to toast to 2013 with Times Square in realtime, then ready & off to bed by 9:30 p.m.

Lentil-Sausage Stew 
But that didn't mean I neglected all sorts of New Year's tradition; having recently heard an NPR segment with Nigella Lawson on New Year culinary traditions, I was inspired to cobble together a comfort dish of sorts thoroughly infused with not only flavor but also good-fortune symbolism, with the coin shapes of lentils & sliced sausages and baguettes and the bright red of the spicy seasonings (cayenne, chili flakes, paprika.)

I can only hope that eating this on New Year's Eve will bring me luck professionally and personally; at the very least, I took solace that night with a bowl of soothing, edible stew (and an easy recipe that I'd revisit all Winter long whenever I need that extra warmth in a bowl!)

Red Lentils & Sausage Stew
Serves 2 as main, 4 as starter

2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups water
2 cups coarsely chopped leafy greens (I used Napa cabbage)
1 cup dried red lentils, rinsed and drained
1/2 pound sausage, sliced (approx. 2-3 links - I used a chicken-red pepper sausage)
1 ounce Mirin
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 teaspoon crushed chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
handful of shredded cheese (optional)

1. Heat up the cooking oil in a skillet or wok over high heat, add sausage slices and sauté until the slices start to char and curl; remove sausage and set aside.
2. Reduce heat to medium and deglaze the pan with the Mirin, add the garlic, chili flakes, paprika and cayenne pepper.
3. Toss in the greens and vegetable broth, heat to a simmer or until greens are wilted.
4. Add lentils and water, bring it back to a simmer and continue to cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and season as needed with salt, chili, pepper, etc. to your liking.
5. Serve, topping with shredded cheese, extra spices and/or bread as needed.



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