Friend Brenda asked for the recipe for our dinner tonight. I will attempt to oblige. Of course the most difficult part of the recipe is obtaining saucisse de Morteau. This is a sausage from eastern France. It’s a basic garlic sausage with one unique twist – it is smoked over a conifer and juniper fire.
We have tried some other smoked sausages from various European butchers in Seattle, but none duplicate the flavor. The closest I could recommend is a good smoked kielbasa. With that caveat, here’s the basic idea.
In a large heavy pot (I prefer cast iron) heat some oil over a medium heat. (Please don’t ask for measurements!) Peel and quarter three medium yellow onions and put those quarters in the oil while you proceed. Wash and cut into large pieces 2 large carrots. Add those to the pot and stir. The onions will begin to carmelize a bit. Add two or three celery stalks, but don’t cut them up too much. Clean and peel one whole garlic bulb, leaving the cloves as whole as possible and add those to the pot with a good dose of herbs de Provence (2-3 tablespoons at least). Add two cups of puy lentils (they are small green lentils, but the real ones come from the Puy region of France where lentils have appellations just like wine). Our Seattle friends can buy them at PCC.
Stir this for a couple of minutes to mix the flavors and continue the carmelization. Next add liquid to cover the veggies – this can be red wine, broth, or water. It depends upon your tastes. We prefer about 1/3 red wine and the rest chicken broth, but have had excellent results with red wine and water. You will want about 1 1/2 pounds of sausage. If it is a large long single sausage it may need to be cut to fit in the pot. However, the less you cut it the more juice it retains during cooking. Turn the heat up high to start it boiling. When it’s simmering nicely turn the heat to low and go drink the rest of that bottle of red wine you opened. I let it cook for anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours, depending upon the doneness of the lentils and carrots. If the carrots are in big chunks they need to cook longer. Lentils seem to vary and I think it has to do with how dried they are. This should not be a soup, you want just enough liquid to cook the lentils and carrots. Sometimes I have to add a bit while cooking. Keep an eye on it.
When all looks done, served in shallow bowls with a baguette to sop up the juices. Be careful when you cut into those sausages because they will spit at you! More red wine makes a wonderful accompaniment. The baguette is useful to clean your bowl for a refreshing salad with vinaigrette.
After the salad, clear the table, do the dishes, and take a walk to the nearest glace stand for some salted caramel glace! At least that’s what we did. 🙂