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Author Notes: When I was growing up my Italian mother always presented a spread of Jewish foods for New Year's Day. We had bagels with smoked salmon in the morning and kosher hot dogs with sauerkraut the rest of the day. But she always served lentils along with all that for good luck. I started yesterday with the bagels and salmon and later made this stew to bring to my friends Corey and Biba's open house. —Giulia Melucci
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped pancetta
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, one chopped the other cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 pounds italian sausage (I used one pound hot and one pound sweet)
- 1 cup red wine
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 pound lentils
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley OR
- 1 handful basil leaves, torn
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brown the sausages on a baking sheet, cooking them for 10 minutes on each side. Remove from oven, cool them a bit, and cut them into one inch pieces.
- Heat olive oil in large heavy bottomed pot over medium heat, add pancetta and cook until browned, 3-5 minutes.
- Add the chopped onion, carrot, and celery and cook until softened, another 5 minutes. If the vegetables get a little dry add some of the wine to them.
- Add the lentils to the pancetta and vegetables, stir them until they are nicely coated, then add the wine and cook for five more minutes stirring occasionally.
- Turn the heat to medium high, add the broth, herbs and salt, bring to a simmer, add the sausages and carrot chunks, bring to a simmer again then lower heat to medium and cook for one hour stirring often, until the lentils are soft and have absorbed most of the liquid. If the liquid is absorbed and the lentils are still tough add some water and continue cooking until the lentils are just al dente.
- Add a splash of olive oil and serve garnished with chopped parsley or some torn basil.
- Have a happy and healthy new year!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Lentils