El Sausige – Bollito Misto

DJ Snuggle Monster is a HUGE pig fan…bacon, chops, ribs…but especially sausage. I think I’ve eaten more pork products with him in a few weeks than I have in my entire lifetime. So, it should come as no surprise that when I got him a Gordon Ramsay (an idol of his) cookbook as a gift (“Gordon Ramsay’s Home Cooking” if you want to check out the original), the first recipe he wanted to test was one involving sausage. I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit to my specifications, but I’d say I trust Gordon’s recipes after this bout. So Bollito Misto is apparently an Italian dish, one reserved for the Christmas holidays. Gordon added lentils to the dish (solid idea), but left out the traditional salsa verde. I’ve added the salsa verde back – just because I think the dish could use some extra “zing” and sharpness to cut through the richness of the sausages.

Timing: 1 hour – 1 hour 10 minutes

Servings: 4 people easily (or leftovers)

INGREDIENTS:

Bollito Misto:

  • 5-6 mild Italian sausages (if you find ones that are fennel-forward, pick those!)
  • 8 ounces chorizo sausage (yes, you can find this in Publix too – right by the other sausages or in the meat section on the end with the random meats)
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, trimmed and sliced diagonally (these can be chunky slices – think 3/4 – 1 inch…also, save the celery leaves if you have them and throw them into the pot when you throw in the lentils too)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally (roughly the same size as the carrots)
  • 7-8 ounces green lentils, rinsed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4-5 thyme sprigs
  • 3 cups (or one whole box) low sodium chicken stock/broth
  • Salt and Pepper

Salsa Verde:

  • 1 cup parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped capers
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

For the Salsa Verde, combine all but the last ingredient in a food processor. Stir in olive oil after (do not blend in processor). Set aside until the main dish is done. Alternatively, mince (chop very finely) all the ingredients and just stir together. Depends on how much patience you have or how much you trust your knife skills.

For the Bollito Misto:

For the lentils, boil some water and add some salt. Add the rinsed lentils and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 20 minutes over medium heat. Drain if there is any water left over. (You could also sub out the water for more chicken stock – just double up how much you buy…but bonus points for flavor…and lentils need all the flavor you can get).

For the sausage, heat a large-ish saucepan over medium heat and add a touch of oil. Cook the Italian sausages on all sides for about 3-4 minutes. Get them good and brown (but hey, I didn’t say black!) so you get some good flavor on them before they get in their little hottub of love. Remove to a side plate (did I say “side piece”?) Cut the chorizo casings and squeeze the chorizo out of the casings into the pan. Brown them up a bit too. You’re also trying to get some of the delicious oil to come out of the chorizo. Cook for about 2-3 minutes total (flipping over to get all sides crispy).Remove to your side piece – I mean plate.

Keep that pan on the heat! And leave that good oil in there! Add the veggies and garlic to the pan and stir for about 2 minutes. Add a bit more oil if need be to keep it all from sticking. Add your drained lentils and both your sausages to the pan. Then add your herbage. Add about 3 cups of your chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Add some salt and pepper and taste. Don’t forget to taste every time you add a substantial amount of something. Plus, lentils soak up a lot and require a lot of added flavor. Drop the heat down to low-ish and simmer for about 30 minutes. If you need to add more chicken stock to keep your lentils nice and bathed, add more. If you add more than 1/4 cup of stick though, re-taste and re-season. Also, stir frequently. Taste the lentils after 30 minutes. If they are still “toothsome” or tough, keep on cooking. Keep on monitoring your stock and salt levels. Your lentils will require some babying – but they’re good for you and can be tasty if you do them right.

Discard the bay leaf – not tasty nor edible. Also get rid of those thyme stalks. Then strain out some lentils in a bowl, place a bit of sausage over and ladle some sauce. Top with a dollop of your salsa verde. This dish is AMAZING reheated. Like chili. Trust me on this.

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