There are so, so, so many things going on in this stew!! But let’s get one thing out of the way- she ain’t a looker. In fact, she’s purple (points removed). Good news: the purple is from WINE (points restored)! And you can cover it up with a thick blanket of feta and fresh parsley to manipulate the whole ‘you eat with your eyes first’ issue.
There! Now that we have cleared the air over aesthetics, we can award points for taste. (Have I been watching to much Olympic ice dancing? I think so…) For being such a simple stew that you could easily make on a weeknight, the flavors are incredibly complex. The Italian sausage adds its own deliciousness to which you add aromatics, wine, roasted red peppers, balsamic vinegar, and in case that’s not good enough, a pile of tangy feta and fresh parsley. Lentils everywhere are cheering because they have just been made tasty.
To be fair, lentils add to the extreme heartiness of this one-dish meal, so let’s award points for that (again, with the ice dancing). Although their shape is adorable, they are one of the reasons you cover it up with feta and parsley because they are an ugly shade of brown. The wine makes them even more brown. I’ve tried making this with lentil of all colors (brown, red, green) to no avail- all end up the same ugly brown. C’est la vie. Still, I love them! I think they are cute, I like the taste, and let’s give credit where credit is due: they are one of the reasons this is a weeknight meal because they cook in about 30 minutes. Yay, lentils! USA USA USA!
Some of us might be sniffing spring in our necks of the woods, but you KNOW we’re not going to escape this winter without another polar vortex or blizzard, or maybe ice stalagmites will start rising from the ground. This is a killer winter stew to put in your rotation. I might even call it a perfect 10! (Someone turn the Olympics off before she makes another cheesy ice dancing reference!!)
- 1 lb Italian sausage
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Pinch of red pepper flakes (more to taste)
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 cup lentils
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 (14-oz) can diced tomatoes
- 2 roasted red peppers (either jarred or homemade- see notes)
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Chopped fresh parsley and feta cheese for serving
- Brown the sausage in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, then use a slotted spoon to transfer to a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Add the oil to the sausage drippings in the Dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrot, season with salt and pepper (about ½ tsp of each), and cook until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Add the garlic and chili pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
- Add the red wine and let it deglaze the pan for about 30 seconds. Add the browned sausage, lentils, chicken stock, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, bay leaf, oregano, and balsamic vinegar; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the lentils are cooked al dente, about 20-30 minutes.
- Season with to taste with salt and pepper (I use about ½ tsp of each, just like above). Top each portion with parsley and feta; serve.