Lentils are one of my favorite foods to eat and cook. I know there are many people that don’t care for the taste of lentils. To those people I urged giving lentils a second chance. There are several varieties and all of which can be transformed into comforting and/or exotic dishes. Depending on what spices are used a Mexican, Middle Eastern, European, Indian or fusion recipe can be created. A soup, dip, curry, salad, or hearty meal can be cooked based on lentils. The possibilities are truly endless.
I could eat lentils several times a week and not get bored. Yesterday I was really craving them for dinner but we had a package of these small Bavarian sausages about to expire in a few days. My husband had purchased the sausages for a specific dish (that I’ll share with you next week) but it doesn’t involve lentils, so I had to compromise. I actually prepared two separate meals to satisfy each of our cravings. Yes, the lentil craving was that bad.
The sausages are similar to bratwurst but not exactly, these are tiny and similar in size to American breakfast links. The Czech package label called them Bavarian sausages not specifying bratwurst but listing pork as the main ingredient. The taste is mildly peppery and a perfect accompaniment to lentils. I have a recipe for Bratwurst with Sauerkraut that I spice with juniper berries and wanted to also spice the lentils with them. They worked perfectly and added a peppery taste with hints of tartness and sweetness. Juniper is often described as having a piney taste, I’m not sure that I agree. Some people might recognize the taste from drinking Gin since juniper is what it’s spiced with. Regardless they are a great spice to work with so you should buy some to cook with.
- 100g or ½ cup green lentils
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 small carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 tsp granulated garlic OR 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 6 whole dried juniper berries
- 2 small bay leafs or 1 normal sized
- salt & ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 500 ml or 2 cups low sodium & no MSG vegetable broth
- 3 small Bavarian pork sausages (I used ones the same size as breakfast links)
- splash of red wine, optional
- Pick through the lentils and remove any debris or shriveled lentils, rinse and set aside. Heat the oil in a pot, then saute the onions and carrots until soft, next add the garlic and cook until softened. Add all of the spices and stir until they begin releasing their scent, careful not to burn them. Add the lentils and pour in the broth, stir, and simmer over medium low heat until they have cooked through. If needed add a little more broth to cook the lentils. Once the lentils are cooked all the way through add a splash of red wine if desired. Simmer a few more minutes. Set aside to cool while grilling the sausage.
- Grill the sausage until it is cooked through. Serve on top of lentils.
This lentils dish was so delicious that I plan to add it to my dinner table on a regular basis. It would also be great without the sausage for a vegan meal. The lentils were creamy, peppery while the sausage gave the dish another level of flavours. Such a simple dish but oh so satisfying. I hope you give it a try.
– Purchase some juniper berries for your pantry
– Grapefruit Juniper Berry Fizz by La Fuji Mama
– pheasant pasty – pheasant, juniper berry and thyme by Wrightfood
– Braised Lamb with Juniper Berries, Fennel and Sage by Key Ingredient
– Golden Vanilla-Fig Cake by An Edible Mosaic