The individual parts of the recipe can be prepared ahead of time, and the finished dish assembles easily. A food processor makes prep time a snap, especially if a medium shredding disk is available to shred the carrots.
Note: I've tried this recipe with French Puy lentils and didn't care for the pasty results. Use the good old brown lentils. I've also tried using arborio rice and ended up with a porridge. A plain rice such as Carolina (my preference) or Uncle Ben's works best.
WARM LENTIL and SAUSAGE SALAD
4 sweet Italian sausages (about 1 lb.) 1 medium onion, minced
½ cup red wine 1 rib of celery, minced
1 cup brown lentils 2 carrots, peeled and shredded
2 cups beef broth 2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups chicken broth 1 tsp. dried thyme
½ cup rice Salt and pepper
2 Tbs. olive oil ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 bay leaf
1. Preheat oven to 350 . Prick sausages several times with a small sharp knife. Place in a single layer in a baking dish just large enough to hold them. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn and bake for 15 minutes more. Pour red wine over sausages. Turn and bake for 15 minutes more. Turn again and bake another 15 minutes. (Total baking time 1 hour.) Remove sausages to a dish lined with paper towels to drain and cool. Slice sausage into rings.
2. While sausage is baking, pick through lentils and remove anything that isn’t a lentil. Combine broths in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Rinse lentils and add to broth with bay leaf. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Add rice and continue simmering for 18-20 minutes, or until rice and lentils are cooked. Don’t overcook! They’ll cook more in the skillet. Drain rice and lentils right away, reserving excess liquid to moisten salad later if necessary. Discard bay leaf.
3. Heat oil in a heavy skillet. Sauté the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and thyme over moderately low heat until vegetables are softened. Fold in lentils and rice. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add parsley and stir gently to combine all ingredients. Place mixture in serving dish, top with sliced sausage, (or combine sausage with other ingredients), and serve warm or at room temperature. Garlic bread and salad are great additions. 4-6 main course servings.