Sausage & Lentils with Fennel

This meal was inspired by a Paris cafe meal last year. We had a great lunch at Café de la Nouvelle Mairie. Truth be told, the best part of that meal was the cafe space and the natural wines. The food was just decent. I was inspired to make the Sausage and Lentils at home and it has since become a meal I make regularly. It's healthy and satisfying and the recipe makes a good amount of food - enough for a meal for two people and leftovers. Seek out the French green lentils, since they stay firm without getting mushy. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm guessing this will make a great dehydrated meal for my next adventure. 

Ingredients

1 cup French green lentils

4 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

bouquet garni – 2 sprigs rosemary, thyme, parsley

1 bay leaf

1 medium (3/4-pound) fennel bulbstalks discarded, reserving fronds

3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, cut into 1/4-inch dice

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 1/4 pounds sweet Italian sausage links

3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 T red-wine vinegar, or to taste

1 T apple cider vinegar

Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling

Directions

Bring lentils, water, 1/2 teaspoon salt and bouquet garni to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until lentils are just tender but not falling apart, about 25 minutes.

While lentils simmer, cut fennel bulb into 1/4-inch dice and chop enough fennel fronds to measure 2 tablespoons. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then stir in onion, carrot, fennel bulb, fennel seeds, and remaining teaspoon salt. Cover pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, lightly prick sausages in a couple of places with tip of a sharp knife, then cook sausages in remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until golden brown and cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board.

 Drain cooked lentils in a sieve set over a bowl and reserve cooking water. Stir lentils into vegetables with enough cooking water to moisten (1/4 to 1/2 cup) and cook over moderate heat until heated through. Stir in parsley, pepper, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 1 T apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon fennel fronds. Season with vinegar and salt.

Cut sausages diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Serve lentils topped with sausage. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.

 

Crock Pot Chicken Farro Stew

This is another meal that has become a staple for me. It's ridiculously easy to make, just load up the crock pot and let it cook for up to six hours. The result is close to a risotto - warm, creamy, and satisfying, especially on a cool, rainy day. I feel like this crockpot recipe is far superior to risotto since it doesn't require hours of stirring in broth. I give this recipe bonus points for frugality. I think we get 3 meals from this recipe. Farro has always been popular in Italy. It's an ancient grain and was enjoyed by Egyptians and Romans alike. It has a great nutty quality and is delicious. It's readily available these days. I bought a 24 oz. bag of Bob's Redmill for around $5. You can also buy it in bulk at Fred Meyer. I get four meals out of one bag, since the recipe calls for one cup of farro. Again, I would love this in camp after a long day on the bike. Grind a bit of fresh pepper and parmesan on top. So good!

 Ingredients

2 ¼ cup chicken broth

1 cup whole farro

1 lb. cremini mushrooms, halved or quartered

2 leeks, white and light green parts only, halved and sliced

2 cloves garlic minced

1 3-inch piece Parmesan rind and 1/3 cup grated Parmesan, plus more grated for serving

1 bay leaf

1 pinch ground nutmeg

kosher salt and black pepper

4 small boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 pound)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

4 sprigs thyme

4  tablespoons marsala

 

Directions

Combine the broth, farro, mushrooms, leeks, Parmesan rind, bay leaf, nutmeg, 1¼ teaspoons salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker. Top with the chicken.

Cover and cook until the chicken is tender, on low for 4 to 4 ½ hours or on high for 3 to 3 ½ hours (this will shorten total recipe time).

Discard the Parmesan rind and bay leaf. Using 2 forks, shred the chicken into large pieces. Stir in the butter and grated Parmesan.

 Sprinkle the risotto with the parsley and serve with additional grated Parmesan.

Bison Chili

Bison Chili and Lamb Rogan Josh (both recipes below) are the two meals that we dehydrated and took with us to Alaska. There is nothing more satisfying after a long day on the bike to know that dinner is already made and that it's going to be hot and delicious. Andrew Weil has a wonderful book called “True Food” which I highly recommend. Andrew Weil has done quite a bit of work around the Anti-Inflammatory diet I did a lot of research when I broke my fibula, both because I was motivated to give my body the best conditions for healing and obviously when not riding, I had a lot more time on my hands. Even when you're not broken, this diet makes a ton of sense, since recovery is all about reducing inflammation and letting the body heal and recharge before you go out and do it all again tomorrow.

Adapted from True Food by Andrew Weil

 “Bison is an excellent source of quality protein, relatively low in saturated fat and best when grass fed and grass finished, which gives the meat a favorable ratio of omega-3 to -6 important fatty acids. The subtle spiciness and depth provided by cinnamon and cocoa give this dish a full, rounded flavor. Making this chili a day in advance allows the flavors to come together harmoniously. Serve with grilled whole wheat tortillas…” - MS

Ingredients

  • 3 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 oz. ground bison
  • ½ t salt
  • ½ t freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 1 T chili powder *
  • 1 T pure ancho chile powder *
  • ½ t red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup canned diced San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz. can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 1 1-inch square piece of 70% dark chocolate
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • ½ t paprika
  • 1/8 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 t salt
  • ½ t chopped fresh oregano

* (Tori's tweak on this recipe involves skipping the chili and ancho powder and making a paste made from toasting 1 whole ancho pepper and 1 whole chile negro pepper in a skillet -cutting open to remove seeds - and then soaking in boiling water for 5 minutes, then blending in vitamix or food processor. I think this makes for a richer, tastier chili)

  

Directions

1.     In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the ground bison and season with the salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, to brown the meat, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the onion and sautee for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking for another 2 minutes while stirring. Add the cumin, ancho pepper puree you made in vitamix/food processor, and red pepper flakes. Stir and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes, beans, and chicken stock. Stir well and brind to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking.

2.      Add the chocolate, dried oregano, paprika, cinnamon, and salt. Stir and let simmer for another 15 minutes. Add the fresh oregano. Adjust the seasoning. Simmer for 5 minutes.

3.    Ladle into bowls and serve with desired accompaniments. If not serving immediately, let the chili cool, and then refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 1 month

…or for your next overnighter, refrigerate, and put in dehydrator the next day. You can also bulk it up with quinoa since it rehydrates nicely.

 

Lamb Rogan Josh by Jamie Oliver

from “Jamie's Food Revolution” book

Rogan Josh paste

(you can buy paste in the store, but you can't beat fresh homemade paste)

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 thumb-sized piece fresh root ginger
  • 75 g jarred roasted peppers
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons groundnut oil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 1 fresh red chilli
  • 1 small bunch fresh coriander
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns

To make the above curry paste...
First peel the garlic and ginger. Put a frying pan on a medium to high heat and add the spices for toasting to the dry pan. Lightly toast them for a few minutes until golden brown and smelling delicious, then remove the pan from the heat.

Add the toasted spices to a pestle and mortar and grind until fine, or put them into a food processor and blend to a powder. Either way, when you've ground them blend the toasted spices in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients until you have a smooth paste.

Ingredients

  • 1 t chili powder
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • small piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 2 t ground coriander
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1 T tomato puree
  • 4 T vegetable oil or ghee (clarified butter)
  • 2 ¼ lb. casserole lamb, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 8-10 cardamom pods, lightly crushed with the back of a spoon
  • 10 oz. lager

Directions

1.     In a food processor, blend together onion, garlic, ginger, all of the ground spices, salt & tomato puree.

 2.      Heat oil or ghee in large saucepan or flameproof casserole. Add the lamb pieces and cardamom pods. Quickly fry until the lam is browned all over. This may need to be done in 2 batches, depending on the size of you pan. Stir in the spicy paste and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour in the lager and bring to a simmer. Cover with a  lid and cook for about 1-1 ¼ hour, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened and the lamb is lovely and tender. Leave the dish for 5 minutes before serving. 

 

French Lentil Soup

from The Voluptuous Vegan by Myra Kornfeld

This is a staple around our house. It's simple to make and is very satisfying. The key is using French lentils, which are heartier than red or yellow lentils, which become mushy. It starts with cooking the french lentils with the fresh herbs. You can be doing the second step, which is to sautee onion, garlic and red pepper, then adding wine and tomatoes. Add tomato/wine mixture to lentils, add kale, and you're done. It's super simple.

For lunch, serve over brown rice and throw a fried egg on top.  Also, I sub kale for chard since that's what we have in our garden

Ingredients

  • 1 cup French lentils, sorted and washed
  • Bouquet garni of 5 fresh thyme sprigs, 3 rosemary sprigs, 1 bay leaf, and 5 flat-leaf parsley stems
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, cut into small dice (2 cups)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 14.5 oz can whole tomatoes, drained, or 2 medium-size fresh tomatoes, peeled and seeded
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups thinly sliced kale leaves (half the leaves of a 1-pound bunch)
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme


1. Place the lentils in a medium pot. Add the bouquet garni and water. Cover, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Partially cover and simmer for 25-35 minutes, or until the lentils are soft. Discard the bouquet garni.

2. Meanwhile, warm the olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes and saute over medium-low heat for 8-10 minutes, or until the onions are softened and begin to brown.

3. Add the red wine, turn up the heat, and cook for a few minutes, uncovered, until the wine is reduced by about half. Add the tomato paste and tomatoes. Cook a few minutes more, breaking up the tomatoes with the back of a spoon.

4. Add the tomato mixture to the pot with the lentils along with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and black pepper to taste. Simmer a few minutes to marry the flavors. Adjust the salt to taste.

5. Add the kale leaves, rosemary, and thyme and turn off heat. Let the chard leaves sit in the soup for five minutes before serving. The hot soup will wilt the leaves sufficiently.

Yield: 4-6 servings