Last year I made it as the recipe directed with the sausage left in links. In thinking about this, I think that bulk sausage may work a bit better, so that's what I tried this year. This is something I wouldn't make too often, just due to the heaviness of this dish. We haven't had a very cold winter, so it doesn't seem like a really hearty main dish is in order too often. But, I do admit, that the smell of this cooking on a snowy day (our first one this year, really) sounds good. I adapted the original recipe to the crockpot, since I just can't do those recipes that require cooking for an hour in the oven before dinner on most nights. I like those recipes too...it's just that we're hungry when we get home from the Y.
It's good to have all different meals, so here goes the original version of this (not sure where I got it) and my notes on adapting it to our tastes and to the slowcooker. I think I'll end up making this again next winter when I think we need a hearty meal.
1 c lentils, rinsed
2 t salt
1 med onion, 1/2 chopped and 1/2 stuck with 2 cloves
1 t fennel seeds
1 bay leaf
6 sweet Italian sausage links
2 T butter
2 T olive oil
3 oz bacon, sliced
2 med carrots
2 large cloves garlic
salt and pepper
1/2 c white wine
Ppreheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil 9" round casserole.
Place lentils in saucepan with salt, onion with cloves, fennel and bay leaf. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer 55 minutes.
Poach sausage 20 minutes.
In a skillet heat olive oil and butter and add bacon. Add chopped onion, carrot, and garlic and cook until soft.
Arange cooked sausages in casserole. Drain lentils and layer lentils, onion mixture, lentils, onions mixture. Pour in the wine and bake.
OK...the salt and fat and multiple pans must go!!!
This is what I did (I know it's not low fat but it is better than the original...it just must be).
In 1 T olive oil saute:
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2 slices celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Cook until softened and add to slow cooker. Cook bulk sausage (or take out of links) until browned. Add rinsed lentils(I did use slightly more than 1 c to finish the bag), 1 c chicken broth, 1/2c+ white wine, 1 t fennel and bay leaf to slow cooker. Add sausage.
cook on low setting for 8-10 hours.
It really hit the spot. Eleanor and I ended up eating it before swim practice since I never got lunch on my busy work day and she was hungry. The rest is still in the crockpot for Paul's return from the airport.